,

Woman raped by Uber driver in India sues company for privacy breaches

Woman files lawsuit alleging Uber executives obtained medical records to cast doubt on her claims and defame her character

An Indian woman who was raped by an Uber driver sued the ride-hailing company on Thursday, alleging that Uber executives had violated her a second time when they obtained her medical records and used them to cast doubt on her credibility.

The woman, a resident of Texas who is bringing the case as a Jane Doe, filed suit against the company, CEO Travis Kalanick, and former executives Eric Alexander and Emil Michael for violating her privacy and defaming her character.

The case stems from a 2014 rape that caused widespread outrage against Uber in India and led to the service being temporarily banned in Delhi. The victim was an Uber passenger who was assaulted by her driver. The driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison.

Uber faced harsh criticism for failing to perform effective background checks when it was revealed that the driver was facing charges in four other criminal cases at the time of the attack.

The nearly $70bn startup expressed support for the victim at the time, with Kalanick releasing a statement that read: We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery.

Last week, however, it was reported that Uber took a different view of the assault internally. Alexander, then the president of business for Uber Asia Pacific, reportedly traveled to India in the days after the attack and obtained the victims medical records. He then allegedly shared those records with Kalanick and Michael, the senior vice-president for business, and the group theorized that the victim was part of a conspiracy by rival Indian firm Ola to damage Ubers reputation.

It is shocking that Travis Kalanick could publicly say that Uber would do everything to support our client and her family in her recovery when he and other executives were reviewing illegally obtained medical records and engaging in offensive and spurious conspiracy theories about the brutal rape she so tragically suffered, Douglas Wigdor, Jane Does attorney, said in a statement.

Alexander was fired on 6 June, after reporters from Recode and other outlets began inquiring about the incident. According to the New York Times, an Uber spokesman lied to a Times reporter in April when he inquired about the issue. Michael left Uber on Monday, amid pressure from the board of directors. Kalanick began an indefinite leave of absence on Tuesday.

The suit alleges that Alexander met with Delhi police and intentionally obtained plaintiffs confidential medical records just days after the assault. Though Alexanders copy of the documents was turned over to the company around December 2015, the suit alleges that Uber still possesses it.

It remains unclear how Alexander obtained the medical records.

Madhur Verma, a senior Delhi police official who was in charge of investigating the December 2014 sexual assault, told the Guardian that there was no reason for it.

Alexander testified for the prosecution in the case, but about the drivers route and background. Had [Uber] applied for permission to access the records, Verma said, police would never have given it.

Jane Doe sued Uber for negligence and fraud in 2015. The case was reportedly settled for at least $3m.

No one should have to go through a horrific experience like this, and were truly sorry that shes had to relive it over the last few weeks, an Uber spokesman said in a statement.

The lawsuit comes at a time of considerable turmoil for Uber, which has been rocked by scandal over the past six months. On Tuesday, the company released the results of an investigation into allegations of widespread sexual assault and gender discrimination. The companys board of directors unanimously adopted the reports recommendations, which included reducing Kalanicks role and implementing basic business practices like a functioning human resources department.

Ubers reformation efforts hit a speed bump when a member of the board of directors made a sexist remark at the all-staff meeting addressing the corporate cultural makeover. He resigned later that day.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/15/uber-india-woman-rape-lawsuit

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 0

Upvotes: 0

Upvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Downvotes: 0

Downvotes percentage: 0.000000%