Connect with us

Social issues

How the Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit Has Shaped Public Opinion

Farman Ali



There’s no denying that ridesharing services like Uber have redefined the public transport space. But like all new industries, there are pros and cons.

For instance, a study done in 2022 found that taking an Uber can help reduce carbon emissions. However, the service can contribute significantly to traffic.

And then there’s the issue of passenger safety. The Uber sexual assault lawsuit has brought sexual assault crimes into focus. Between 2017 and 2020, nearly 10,000 sexual assault cases were reported to Uber.

Uber Accused of Negligence

Claims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct were leveled against Uber drivers. The Uber sexual assault lawsuits name Uber Technologies, Inc. as the defendant.

The company allegedly failed to implement proper safety measures. They are also accused of negligence and not conducting enough background checks on drivers.

Rape, false imprisonment and other violent crimes were reported by female passengers, says TorHoerman Law. The latest filing from the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) indicates 24 new cases were added in the past month.

How the Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuit Has Shaped Public Opinion

Silencing Survivors?

An Uber sexual assault survivor shared her harrowing experience with ABC7 News in 2023. She hoped that the company would increase their safety protocols.

While on her way to cat-sit, Jennifer said her driver started asking inappropriate questions.

When he dropped her off, he offered to help with her bags and touched her. The driver returned the next day with her phone that she left in the car. She immediately filed a police report.

In light of the incident, Jennifer didn’t know whether the driver was removed from the app or if any further action was taken.

Earlier this year, the Uber Sexual Assault Survivors for Legal Accountability challenged Uber’s proposal to cap attorney fees.

The group said it would prevent victims from having access to proper legal representation. It also claimed the proposal was another ploy by Uber to silence survivors, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

There was another case of an Uber executive who obtained the medical files of a sexual assault survivor. The aim was to discredit her evidence, the Guardian reported.

Reputational Damage

This isn’t the first time Uber has found itself in unfavorable territory. In 2017, #DeleteUber caused a massive uproar.

The trending hashtag led to half a million users requesting to have their accounts canceled. Fast Company states the backlash was due to discrimination in the workplace and the treatment of drivers.

In 2022, the Uber Files were published. The probe, led by The Guardian, uncovered 124,000 internal documents. They contained evidence of Uber flouting laws, duping police and using violence against drivers.

Presently, it finds itself in a similar situation. The world is watching in which direction the sexual assault lawsuit will take.

Uber’s Response

In response to the sexual assault lawsuit, an Uber spokesperson told NPR that the company takes any report of this nature “very seriously.” Although they couldn’t comment on pending litigation, they said they were committed to the safety of all their users.

To save its skin, Uber announced that it would no longer require confidentiality clauses in settlements or force sexual assault victims to resolve disputes via arbitration. It also said it would publish a report on safety incidents.

That was six years ago. Yes, the company releases safety reports. Whether it acts on the data is a huge question. The latest safety feature has been integrated into the Uber app. It lets passengers tailor their safety preferences based on location, ride type and time of day.

According to ZDNet, users can access the feature via RideCheck, PIN verification, audio recording, and Share My Trip.

Call for Effective Solutions

Despite Uber’s app-based safety features, sexual assault survivors say they aren’t enough. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are asking for better technological solutions.

They suggested the use of in-vehicle surveillance cameras. They act as a deterrent and could reduce instances of assault on passengers and drivers.

The survivors also called into question Uber’s background checks. According to TechCrunch, Uber uses third parties to conduct these checks.

To tighten measures, the lawsuit called on the company to include fingerprinting. This would entail running drivers through FBI databases.

In response to their grievances, Uber lobbied against additional background checks for drivers. They also said smudged fingerprints could lead to inaccurate results.

The Uber sexual assault lawsuit underscores critical issues surrounding safety and accountability within the ridesharing industry.

It has shaped public perception but also prompted conversations about protecting vulnerable users. For Uber, swaying public opinion could be much harder this time around.

Farman Ali is a tech enthusiast and experienced writer with a passion for exploring the latest innovations in technology. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for simplifying complex concepts, Farman delivers insightful and engaging content that keeps readers informed and ahead of the curve.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *