Uber was fined $59.1 million for repeatedly refusing to turn over records related to the company's 2019 sexual assault report. The California Public Utilities Commission has requested the records for more than a year. An administrative law judge ruled in December of 2019 to turn over the data. Uber refused. A judge also ruled in January 2020 to turn over the data. Uber again refused. Now, more than a year later, the rideshare company is being handed a huge fine and still required to give up the records.
According to the Chief Administrative Law Judge, Uber “refused, without any legitimate legal or factual grounds, to comply with the Assigned Administrative Law Judge's Rulings dated December 19, 2019 and January 27, 2020 which required Uber to provide information regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment claims arising out of Uber's California transportation network company passenger services, and to provide information regarding the authorship of Uber's US Safety Report.”
According to Uber, one of the reasons for failing to turn over information was to protect victims. However, the judge pointed out that Uber still failed to hand over the data when the information could have been kept under seal and not make the records public.
If Uber fails to provide the information, fails to pay the fine, and fails to comply with the order, Uber's permit to operate as a Transportation Network Company will be suspended.
Multiple Sexual Assaults in Lyft and Uber Vehicles
There is no shortage of reports of sexual assaults in Uber and Lyft rides, primarily drivers assaulting passengers. Only a few months ago, we wrote about an Uber driver who was attempting to sexually assault a passenger before she escaped. In June, we wrote about a Lyft driver charged with felony criminal sexual assault after allegedly raping a passenger.
Unfortunately, many sexual assaults are never reported. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.” There are a number of reasons why sexual assaults may not be reported, with one of the most common reasons being fear of retaliation.
Fear of retaliation is a very real fear in rideshare assaults. The Lyft or Uber passenger has no idea where the driver lives but the driver may have a good idea where the passenger lives, works, or hangs out, based on where the passenger was picked up and their drop-off location.
History of Sexual Assaults and Lack of Transparency
The rideshare companies have a frightening history of violence and sexual assaults against both passengers and drivers. Many rideshare users get a ride on their Lyft or Uber app to get home safely after a night of having a few drinks. Rideshares are supposed to be a safer alternative to impaired driving. However, some drivers take advantage of impaired riders, sexually assaulting passengers when they are passed out or unable to physically resist a violent assault.
After more reports of sexual assault were made public by victims, Uber was finally pressured to release their own report of sexual assaults, reporting 3,045 sexual assaults in the U.S. in 2018 alone. That is more than 8 sexual assaults per day!
One of the reasons Uber does not want to turn over their records is because the company likes to keep its sexual assault data internally. Uber also likes to handle reports of assault or injury internally, allowing their Uber Investigation Unit to look into the case. As a result of their own findings, or settlement, Uber may not report the assault or reports of the investigation to law enforcement.
Colorado Rideshare Injury Lawyer
The Denver Legal Eagles have successfully represented drivers and passengers in Denver, Boulder, and throughout Colorado who were injured in a Lyft or Uber. Our experienced attorneys will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.