SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Wednesday morning Uber Techonologies, Inc. (Uber) was named in a civil lawsuit alleging that female passengers experienced kidnappings, rapes, and other harassment at the hands of Uber drivers after their use of the riding application, according to a press release from Slater Slater Schulman.

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The complaint was filed in San Francisco County Superior Court by attorneys with Slater Slater Schulman LLP, a law firm that represents survivors of catastrophic and traumatic events. The firm has roughly 550 clients that have claims against Uber, and another 150 claims are currently being investigated.

Uber released its second U.S. Safety report last month, which stated that 998 sexual assault incidents–including 141 reports of rape–occurred in the year 2020 alone. Data is not yet available for 2021 or 2022. Uber also disclosed that it received 3.824 reports of some of the most “severe” categories of sexual assault in 2019 and 2020. These claims involved actions ranging from “non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part” to “non-consensual sexual penetration” otherwise known as rape.

The complaint filed by Slater Slater Schulman states that Uber became aware that drivers were sexually assaulting and raping female passengers as early as 2014, but in the eight years since, sexual predators driving for Uber continued to attack passengers. Some of those passengers were included as plaintiffs in the complaint. The alleged attacks shared by Slater Slater Schulman include:

  • In February 2022, an Uber driver sexually assaulted and attempted to rape a woman who was a passenger in his vehicle in Chino Hills, CA.
  • In November 2021, an Uber driver fondled and raped a passenger in Perris, CA.
  • In August 2021, an Uber driver convinced a woman passenger to sit in the front seat of his vehicle, where he forcefully kissed her and sexually assaulted her.
  • In October 2021, an Uber driver attempted to rape a woman outside Pittsburgh, PA, rather than take her safely to her destination.
  • Also in October 2021, an Uber driver attempted to rape a woman passenger in Boston, MA.

The complaint also alleges that Uber’s goal to fuel growth encouraged the company to onboard new drivers as quickly as possible by forgoing “traditional background check standards.” Slater Slater Schulman states that Uber’s longstanding policy not to report any criminal activity, including assaults and rape, to law-enforcement authorities means that tracking these crimes is very difficult.

Adam Slater, an attorney with Slater Slater Schulman, believes that Uber should be doing more to protect its riders, “adding cameras to deter assaults, performing more robust background checks on drivers, creating a warning system when drivers don’t stay on a path to a destination,” are suggestions he listed to increase safety for riders. Earlier this week, KRON4 reported that Uber had used “stealth tech” to keep authorities from accessing certain data during investigations.

Those who would like to be linked to resources for sexual assault survivors can contact 800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from your area. The National Sexual Assault Hotline operated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) also provides confidential support from trained staff, and can assist with locating healthcare resources.