Uber Accused of Failing to Protect Riders From Sexual Assault

A judge in California recently fined rideshare giant Uber nearly $60 million and threatened to suspend its license to operate in the state if the company refuses to pay the penalty and respond within 30 days to questions regarding the company’s records on sexual assaults.South Florida sexual assault lawyer

As our South Florida civil trial sexual assault lawyers know, a safety report released by the company last year revealed some 6,000 sexual assaults that were reported to Uber in connection with rides between 2017 and 2019.

As a public service provider, Uber and other ridesharing companies undoubtedly have some responsibility to keep customers safe. The extent of this responsibility, though, is part of what is being litigated in hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits across the country.

The Case in California

California’s public utility’s commission, which regulates ride-sharing services there, sought additional details about how the company generated its recent safety report, as well as some specifics so the incidents could be investigated by proper authorities. Uber refused. The company insisted that to provide this information was to infringe on the privacy rights of victims. The judge didn’t buy this, given that he’d promised the information could be submitted under seal to shield victim identity and expectations of confidentiality.

In a statement, the company said it refused to acquiesce to demands of releasing the full names and contact information of survivors of sexual assault – absent their consent. The statement called this a “shocking violation of privacy,” and argued a fine of tens of millions for failure to initially comply with an order that was later altered is unfair.

The fine was based on $7,500 for every day the company did not comply with the original order. An administrative law judge with the state regulatory agency called the company’s arguments legally and factually insufficient, and insisted the state has a legal right to the data. The state insists Uber is being obstructionist in its refusal to cooperate.


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