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Uber to Pay California $9 Million Settlement in Sexual Assault, Harassment Cases

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Uber Must Pay $9 Million in California Sexual Assault Settlement

Uber Must Pay $9 Million in California Sexual Assault Settlement

Dec 3, 2021

A $9 million settlement agreement has been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) against San Francisco-based rideshare company Uber, according to a Thursday announcement. The multi-million dollar settlement stems from Uber’s failure to comply with requests from California regulators regarding information related to sexual assault claims made by both customers and drivers over the course of two years, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The following parties were involved in reaching the $9 million Uber settlement agreement:

  • The CPUC’s Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division (CPED)
  • Uber
  • The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

The settlement resolves a previous Order to Show Cause brought against Uber by the CPUC for the aforementioned failure to produce information on reports of sexual assaults and harassments against the rideshare company.

The $9 million paid by Uber will reportedly help support safety initiatives as well as improve general public safety.

The breakdown relative to how the funds will be allocated is as follows:

  • $5 million paid to the California Victims Compensation Board (to be used for the victims of physical violence and sexual violence). These funds will reportedly be recommended to target outreach to victims of sexual violence and physical violence taking place within the rideshare industry.
  • $4 million to be used for efforts to address physical and sexual violence in the rideshare industry. Said funds will include contracts to be managed by CPED for the following:
    • An industry wide evaluation of existing protocols and practices for classifying and reporting violence (including sexual violence)
    • Development of recommendations for industry wide best practices for receiving, reporting, and responding to complaints of violence (including sexual violence)
    • Development of industry wide education, outreach, and training on all forms of violence prevention (physical and sexual) within the rideshare industry

Uber will also reportedly pay a $150,000 fine to the state’s General Fund.

The $9 million settlement also requires Uber to:

  1. Provide information on sexual assault and harassment to the CPUC going forward (while also maintaining a unique identifier system that protects the identities of sexual assault and physical violence survivors)
  2. Create an opt-in process for survivors to provide more information related to an assault that is then made available to the CPUC

Uber provided the following statement regarding the $9 million settlement:

“We’re glad the full Commission has adopted this agreement, which was developed in collaboration with CPUC staff and experts from RAINN. Most importantly, we can move forward with a solution that preserves the privacy and agency of survivors.”

Uber published a blog Thursday entitled “Always Looking Out For Your Safety.” The piece outlined a number of the company’s recent safety enhancements and features. One such feature, dubbed the ‘Audio Recording’ option, was launched in Latin America two years ago. Uber’s blog notes that the safety enhancement is available to “better support riders and drivers who report safety incidents.”

Though it is currently offered to rideshare users in 14 countries, the Audio Recording safety feature is not presently available in the United States (although Uber notes in its blog that, due to positive reception in Latin America, it will begin as a pilot program in three U.S. cities later this month). Uber’s blog, however, did not confirm which cities will be a part of the Audio Recording pilot program.

Uber also cited a new ‘RideCheck’ technology that is designed to detect when a trip “takes an unexpected route or when a trip ends unexpectedly before the rider’s final destination.

According to Uber’s blog:

“When our system detects a possible issue with a trip, both the rider and the driver will receive a RideCheck notification to ask if everything is OK. They can let us know through the app that all is well, or take other actions like using the emergency button or reporting the issue to Uber’s Safety Incident Reporting Line.”

Uber’s 2019 Safety Report Highlighting Rideshare Sexual Assault Incidents

Approximately two years ago, in December 2019, Uber released its first safety report confirming over 6,000 sexual assaults that were reported in 2017 and 2018 during U.S. rides (averaging about eight incidents per day).

Among those sexual assaults reported to Uber in 2017 and 2018:

  • 235 were rapes
  • More than 1,500 were cases of non-consensual kissing, touching, or attempted rape experienced by riders and drivers in the U.S.
  • Most victims of rape were riders (with approximately 7% being drivers)
  • Nearly 90% of Uber sexual assault survivors were women

Uber isn’t the only rideshare company to have received thousands of sexual assault claims.

In October, Lyft released data confirming 4,148 sexual assault incidents and 360 reports of rape throughout 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Can I File a Lawsuit for an Uber or Lyft Sexual Assault?

If you’ve been sexually assaulted as an Uber or Lyft passenger or driver, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for numerous damages. In California, a sexual assault civil lawsuit can be filed regardless of whether or not any criminal charges are brought (or whether a perpetrator is ever found guilty through criminal litigation).

Some common damages that may be recovered through an Uber or Lyft sexual assault lawsuit include:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Psychological harm
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Counseling or therapy costs
  • Medical expenses

Dordulian Law Group’s Rideshare Sexual Assault Lawyers

Dordulian Law Group (DLG) has experience helping rideshare sexual assault survivors secure maximum financial compensation for their claims. For example:

DLG helped a rideshare rape survivor obtain a $2.25 million dollar settlement after her driver drugged and assaulted her.

Moreover, we’ve helped countless sexual assault survivors secure justice on their own terms:

  • An undisclosed multi-million dollar settlement for a woman drugged and raped by a man she had met on a ‘Sugar Daddy’ website. Despite forming a relationship with the man and having consensual sexual relations in the past, the single incident of rape constituted sexual assault and led to the victory. As DLG’s founder, Sam Dordulian, has noted in previous blogs, consent is always mandatory, and rape is always illegal.
  • An undisclosed maximum financial damages award under the eggshell plaintiff rule for a sexual assault incident involving minimal contact. Despite the incident only entailing an employer putting his arm around our client and asking her to “smile more,” DLG’s sexual assault attorneys were able to secure maximum financial compensation for the survivor.
  • A $675,000 settlement for an anonymous survivor who wished to recover the quickest possible settlement under California’s AB 218 law for a crime that occurred nearly 40 years ago.
  • A $300,000 settlement for a sexual assault survivor who was groped and harassed during a business meeting.

DLG is proud to partner with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) in the mission to end sexual violence, and Sam Dordulian was recently recognized as a member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council. As a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Dordulian has devoted his career to helping survivors of sexual assault obtain the justice they deserve.

For a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation with a member of DLG’s SAJE Team, contact us today at 818-322-4056. There is never any fee until we recover a maximum financial damages award for your rideshare sexual assault claim.

AB 218 Child Sex Abuse Revival Window Deadline

California AB 218, the landmark legislation which took effect in 2020, allows ALL survivors of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to file a civil claim and obtain justice through financial compensation — regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. But AB 218’s three-year loopback window officially expires at the end of 2022, and survivors who haven’t filed a claim before that time will likely left without any future legal recourse. To speak with a child sexual abuse lawyer, contact us today at 818-322-4056.




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