Uber Sued Over Allegations of Driver Rape

Posted by Melanie Nathan, Oct 09, 2015.

Uber is in the news and its not good – here are two articles, one from The Recorder and the other from SF Weekly, illustrating the woes:

SAN FRANCISCO — Two women who claim they were sexually assaulted by Uber drivers have filed a lawsuit claiming Uber Technologies Inc. allowed the crimes by putting “profits over safety.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 10.57.40 AMThe women, identified as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, were assaulted in Boston and Charleston, South Carolina, according to the complaint. Both drivers are accused of taking the women to a secluded area, locking the car doors, and forcing themselves on their passengers.

The victims’ lawyers at Wigdor LLP and Anderson & Poole sued Uber on Thursday in the Northern District of California for assault, battery, false imprisonment, fraud and negligence.

In an emailed statement, an Uber representative wrote both drivers named in the complaint have been permanently removed from the Uber platform.

“Our thoughts remain with the victims of these two terrible incidents,” the representative wrote. “We proactively worked with law enforcement in Massachusetts and South Carolina at the time to share information and aid their investigations.”

Wigdor, a New York-based firm, also sued Uber over an alleged driver rape of a woman in Delhi, India. That case was resolved last month under confidential terms.

The Jane Doe suit claims Uber partners with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to market itself as a safe alternative to drinking and driving. But what Uber is really doing is marketing to young women who have been drinking, according to the complaint.

“Unfortunately, despite its self-proclaimed ‘commitment to safety,’ opening the Uber app and setting the pick-up location has proven to be the modern day equivalent of electronic hitchhiking,” the lawyers wrote. “Buyer beware—we all know how those horror movies end.”

Uber fails to adequately screen its drivers, according to the complaint. The company doesn’t require a fingerprint background check for criminal history, but instead runs a check more similar to a credit report, using drivers’ Social Security numbers to check records going back seven years. If a driver commits a crime after the initial background check, Uber will not be notified, according to the complaint.

And the lawyers claim Uber fails to exercise supervision over drivers while they are working.

Jane Doe 1, who is 20 years old, called for an Uber at about 2:30 a.m. Feb. 8 in Boston. She claims her driver, Abderrahim Dakiri, told her he “really like her” and began groping and kissing her while stopped a red light. The victim says she texted several friends for help, and told them her Uber driver was trying to rape her. Dakiri, who is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs more than 200 pounds, then pulled over, locked the doors and climbed on top of her, according to the complaint. Jane Doe 1 says she eventually manipulated the door lock and ran out of the car. She says Uber then refunded her charge of $27 for the ride. Dakiri was charged with indecent assault and battery the next day, according to a Boston Globe article. Read more: http://www.therecorder.com/id=1202739374118/Uber-Sued-Over-Alleged-Rapes-by-Drivers#ixzz3o5txcnPx

And so in considering the almighty dollar over safety , if Uber is valued at 50 billion as suggested in this article : “Uber’s recent fundraising puts a value of $50 billion on the business, three times higher than a year ago and making it the fastest ever start-up to get to $50 billion.”…One of 2 things will happen – Uber genuinely does not care – and will just keep settling rape victims to avoid court OR Uber does care and will start throwing some of those profits at investing in new safety and screening measures!  Lets hope for the latter – they can certainly afford it.  If they do NOT show a move in that direction, I am certain a boycott movement to create awareness will soon launch.
But that is not all when it comes to the negative publicity for Uber. Yet again making news, as illustrated from this new case below, perhaps the culture of Uber abuse receives its example from the very top:

Airbnb and Uber Executives Sued for Sexual Harassment and Wage Theft by Former Live-In Domestic Worker

Julieta Yang announced her lawsuit at a press conference today.

  • Julieta Yang announced her lawsuit at a press conference today.

A former live-in domestic worker for two San Francisco tech executives filed suit against her former employers today, alleging sexual harassment and wage theft.

A complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court alleges that Cameron Poetzscher, the head of corporate development for Uber, and Varsha Rao, the head of global operations for Airbnb, subjected Julieta Yang to a “sexually hostile work and home environment” and failed to pay her the minimum wage and overtime.

A 45-year-old mother of three from the Philippines who worked for Rao and Poetzscher, a married couple, for seven years, Yang announced her lawsuit at a press conference at the Bayanihan Community Center this morning.

READ MORE

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