US News

Uber says it's one step closer to delivering data on sexual assaults

Over 100 drivers accused of assaulting passengers

(CNN) - Uber released a report Monday that outlines how it will categorize sexual misconduct, sexual assault and rape claims involving its drivers and passengers, which the company says is a first step toward getting out its promised safety transparency report putting numbers to sexual assaults and other incidents that occur on its platform.

Uber's pledge to release that report came on the heels of CNN's investigation that found that at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States had been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the previous four years. The drivers were arrested, wanted by police, or had been named in civil suits related to the incidents. It was the first time that any numbers had been put to the issue.

An Uber spokesperson told CNN Business the company hasn't yet determined what data will be released in the report, but it confirmed it will include "more serious incidents," including sexual assault and fatal car accidents.

The 53-page taxonomy report was authored by staff at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Urban Institute. Uber partnered with the organizations, which work with sexual violence survivors, because of their experience with data collection around the issue. It defines 21 categories of complaints ranging from staring or leering to masturbation to non-consensual sexual penetration.

The company said it plans to release the report in 2019.

There is no publicly available data regarding the number of sexual assaults allegedly committed by Uber drivers or drivers with other rideshare companies. CNN's analysis was based on an in-depth review of police reports, federal court records and county court databases for 20 major US cities.

The lack of transparency about the number of incidents involving rideshare drivers has been a sticking point for plaintiffs in lawsuits against the company, who have claimed that Uber tries to hide the true scope of the issue from its customers.

Other changes Uber made after the CNN investigation include dropping forced arbitration for individuals bringing sexual assault or harassment claims against the company. The company also announced it will no longer require confidentiality as part of settlement agreements in lawsuits pertaining to sexual assault or harassment.

"We think it is very, very important to allow survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment the control and agency that was, frankly, stripped from them in that incident," Uber's chief legal officer, Tony West, told CNN in a phone interview in May. West added, "I want to thank (CNN) for the reporting that you've done on this issue."

Despite repeated requests, the company has yet to agree to an on-camera interview about the issue with CNN.

In its release on Monday, Uber credited itself for proactively tackling the issue, without being required to do so. "Uber is voluntarily addressing such issues on their platform, while colleges and universities are federally mandated to do so," reads the report.

In a blog post accompanying the taxonomy report, West and Kristen Houser, the chief public affairs officer of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, wrote: "We're sharing this full taxonomy today with the hope this will help inform safety strategies for any company that brings people together in the real world so we can all take more action to help end sexual violence."


Editor Notes

This Just In