Uber’s $59 Million Fine Over Sexual Assault Data Was Just Reduced To $150K
Uber has ‘come to an arrangement’ with a California regulator that would reduce a $59 million fine to just $150,000, according to the proposed agreement filed Thursday.
In December of 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) fined the ride-sharing company $59 million and threatened to suspend its license if they didn’t comply with a request for data on sexual assaults, according to The Verge.
Under the terms of the new deal, however, Uber will provide anonymized data on sexual assault incidents and will give accusers the ability to opt-in to being contacted by CPUC in the future. The company will also contribute $5 million to the California Victims Compensation Board, and $4 million towards developing industry-wide efforts to report and respond to these types of incidents. Uber will deposit the combined $9 million with the CPUC’s Fiscal Office.
The CPUC fine was in response to a damning 84-page safety report published in 2019, which included aggregate data on thousands of sexual assaults in the US between 2017 and 2018 during trips taken in Uber vehicles.
Uber called the report “jarring,” but declined to provide more specific information about the assaults when the CPUC came asking. The CPUC also wanted to know more information about who at the company authored the report, especially because Uber admitted in the fine print that it did not “assess or take any position on whether any of the reported incidents actually occurred.” (The CPUC has regulatory authority over transportation companies in California and regularly investigates complaints against them.)
Uber refused to answer the CPUC’s questions and hand over the data on the grounds that it would put sexual assault survivors at risk. It appealed the CPUC’s fine in January, calling the $59 million fine “extraordinary” and claiming that the CPUC was “penaliz[ing] Uber for its good-faith efforts to stand with survivors.” –The Verge
Uber has faced numerous lawsuits stemming from alleged sexual assault. In April, 2019, a Washington DC woman sued the company for negligence and consumer protection violations after she says a driver sexually assaulted her. In 2017, a woman in India who says she was raped in 2014 by an Uber driver also sued the company – after an Uber executive illegally disclosed a portion of her medical records to other Uber employees, including former CEO Travis Kalanick.
In 2019, 19 women sued Uber competitor Lyft for failure to prevent sexual assault perpetrated by drivers on the platform, then doing virtually nothing to investigate the complaints.
Sun, 07/18/2021 – 17:00