Uber Settles Lawsuit Brought By Two Passengers Who Accused Drivers Of Sexual Assault

Image courtesy of Alper Çuğun

Six months after a judge rejected Uber’s claim that it wasn’t responsible for its drivers’ actions after they turned the ride-hailing service app off, the company has settled with two passengers who sued it for hiring drivers accused of sexually assaulted them. The court didn’t reveal the terms of the settlement.

When a driver is an independent contractor, is the service that employs them responsible, especially if the driver has turned off the app and is technically off the clock?

In these cases, the drivers met their victims through the platform. Uber advertised the thoroughness of its background checks on prospective drivers, but apparently was not thorough enough.

The judge decided that Uber should be responsible for its drivers’ actions, though that decision did not affect the ongoing question of whether the drivers should be considered employees.

This lawsuit combined cases from South Carolina and Massachusetts, and what both had in common is the drivers slipped through cracks in Uber’s background check system.

One was a recent immigrant to the United States whose criminal record from his country of origin wasn’t available, and the other had a twelve-year-old domestic violence charge on his record, while Uber’s background checks only go back seven years.

Elsewhere in the world, Uber also settled a similar lawsuit filed by a victim of an alleged driver assault in New Delhi, India more than a year ago.

Uber Settles Lawsuit Over Driver Sexual Assault Claims [Bloomberg Technology]
Order of Dismissal Upon Settlement [PDF]

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