Uber faces lawsuit over India rape investigation

  • Uber faces lawsuit over India rape investigation

Uber faces lawsuit over India rape investigation

A woman who was raped by her Uber driver in 2014 is now suing Uber for defamation and intrusion of privacy after an investigation revealed last week that a company executive had obtained her medical records and shared them with other executives. The lawsuit filed on Thursday said shortly after the rape occurred, a U.S. Uber executive "met with Delhi police and intentionally obtained plaintiff's confidential medical records". "Hopefully, this lawsuit coupled with the changes recommended by the independent counsel will create real change and reform". The driver was sentenced to life in prison. She did so after hearing company executives investigated her complaint, obtained her medical records and privately spoke of their assumptions that her accusation was false and meant to hurt the business's reputation.

The filing also alleges that Uber continues to retain a copy of the records despite reports that said the company destroyed them after discovering that Alexander had kept them with him for almost a year after the incident. And Uber's questionable credibility doesn't start or end with Kalanick's note (which may actually mean nothing, considering a share buyback program gives him a stranglehold over the company, according to the New York Times).

Under Kalanick, Uber has disrupted the taxi industry in hundreds of cities and turned the San Francisco-based company into the world's most valuable startup.

Alexander allegedly held on to the documents for about a year before his copy was destroyed by other Uber executives. According to the complaint, the men "discussed the records among themselves and with other staff at Uber, speculating that Plaintiff had made up the brutal rape in collusion with a rival of Uber in India to undermine Uber's business".

Hiring senior women and diversifying management alone is not enough to detoxify Uber's image, but it's a grudging start. At the time, Uber executives were publicly contrite, saying in a statement: "Our thoughts are with the victim of this awful crime, and we are working with the police as they investigate".

Michael and Alexander could not immediately be reached for comment. In 2015, the woman sued Uber for failing to comply with primary safety procedures in recruiting drivers. A separate examination by a law firm of 215 human resources claims at Uber has resulted in more than 20 people being fired. Her lawyers claim in the suit filed today in California federal court that Uber's representatives obtained the records in an attempt to deny an assault took place. She said in her suit that the three executives believed her rape, in 2014, may have been part of a conspiracy hatched by an Uber rival.

Uber has been under heightened scrutiny since February, when former engineer Susan Fowler wrote a scathing blog post about sexual harassment and sexism at the firm. Uber reportedly settled that earlier lawsuit for an undisclosed sum.