At the end of 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission, CPUC, fined Uber Technologies, Inc. $59 million. The fine is the result of the refusal of Uber to provide the rideshare regulatory agency with the full names and contact information of consumers who used the Uber app as riders and reported being sexually assaulted of sexually harassed drivers.
The CPUC takes the position that the regulatory agency needs this information in order to undertake appropriate investigations of allegations sexual assault and harassment made by Uber riders. Uber counters by saying that releasing this information to the CPUC would violate the privacy of survivors or sexually assault and harassment. An organization described as an “anti-sexual abuse group” joined Uber in contesting the release of information, also maintaining that doing so would violate the privacy or survivors. CPUC has maintained that it would not disseminate this type of confidential information.
Ultimately, the CPUC demand for information and the agency’s imposition of a fine came before a California administrative law judge. The administrative law judge concluded that privacy concerns could be addressed by keeping the specific identities of survivors of sexual assault and harassment at the hands of Uber drivers private by replacing names with some sort of code. In this way, the CPUC would have access to the underlying facts and circumstances surrounding allegations or Uber driver sexual assault and harassment.
In addition to developing a methodology by which survivors of Uber sexual assault and Uber sexual harassment, the administrative law judge presiding over the proceedings affirmed the $59 million penalty imposed by the California Public Utilities Commission. Uber has indicated its intent to further litigate the decision of the administrative law judge. The rideshare company has the legal ability to “appeal” this decision via the California judicial system.
The legal machinations in California involving Uber sexual assault and Uber sexual harassment points to what many consider to be a relatively widespread problem in regard to cases involving Uber sexual assault and Uber sexual harassment of passengers. A comprehensive safety report of revealed that there were 5,981 reported cases of Uber sexual assault in 2017 and 2018. About 55 percent of the incidents were drivers who sexually assaulted passengers. Approximately 45 percent were drivers who were sexually assaulted by riders.
Of the nearly 6,000 allegations of sexual assault occurring in Uber rideshares, 464 were incidents of rape. 92 percent of the reported rapes involved riders who were assaulted by drivers. 8 percent were drivers allegedly raped by riders.
Despite this report, there are ongoing contentions that Uber – as well as the other major rideshare company, Lyft – have been less than transparent when it comes to riders who have harmed passengers, including cases involving allegations of sexual assault. In addition to sexual assault, the referenced report included cases involving 19 deaths caused as a result of physical assaults that occurred during an Uber trip.
Uber has a recognized legal duty to take reasonable steps to protect both drivers and riders who use their platform. This legal obligation is deemed to exist even though Uber is not classified as an employer of those people that drive for the rideshare company.
Whether you’re a driver or rider, if you’ve been the victim of Uber sexual assault or Uber sexual harassment, the experienced and compassionate legal team at The Doan Law Firm is here for you. A nationwide law firm, you can reach us any time of the day or night by calling (800) 349-0000. Our Uber sexual assault hotline is open 365 days a year, including all major holidays.
We can schedule an initial consultation with an Uber sexual assault lawyer at any one of our 40 offices located from coast to coast in the United States. We can also arrange a virtual appointment with you online. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and case evaluation with a Doan Law Firm Uber sexual harassment lawyer.
The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee promise to you. We never charge an attorney fee in a sexual assault or any other type of persona injury case unless we win for you. Our commitment is to fight tirelessly to win big for you.