Jane Doe suing Uber for privacy violations
A woman raped by her Uber driver in India is suing both the company and three current and former top executives after it was revealed Eric Alexander, the company’s president of business in Asia Pacific, had accessed and was carrying around her medical records.
The woman, a Texas resident identified as Jane Doe in the case, is suing for intrusion into private affairs, public disclosure of private facts and defamation and says in the suit the three executives, including Alexander, Travis Kalanick and Emil Michael believed her rape in 2014 was a conspiracy from an Uber rival or taxi company to defame the company. Doe previously sued Uber in 2015 for negligence and fraud after the company failed to do a proper background check on her driver.
Both Michael and Alexander have been fired from the company and Kalanick is on a leave of absence following a string of other misconduct allegations and the death of his mother.
Uber said at the time of the rape allegations it would, “work with the community, with government and the technology industry to find more ways to promote safety in transportation, particularly for women.” However, at the same time, Alexander was reported to be on his way to India seeking the medical records of the victim.
The suit alleges, instead of taking the victim at her word about the rape, Alexander had bought into “rape denialism,” seeking to discredit her by looking at what she was wearing or if she had been drinking. It also says Uber has not sought to work with the government to make the city of New Dehli, where the rape occurred, safer for women or to support the victim and her family.
“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, the lawyer handling the case said, “Rape denial is just another form of the toxic gender discrimination that is endemic at Uber and ingrained in its culture.”
Uber has since said in a statement, “No one should have to go through a horrific experience like this, and we’re truly sorry that she’s had to relive it over the past few weeks.”
The company has met with an onslaught of allegations regarding sexual harassment and discrimination over the past several months, leading to several top executives and at least 20 people being let go from the company. Several more are still under investigation or in training for misconduct.