Woman sues Uber for obtaining her medical records after rape by driver

Woman sues Uber for obtaining her medical records after rape by driver
© Greg Nash

A woman who says she was raped by her Uber driver in India filed a lawsuit against the ridesharing firm on Thursday for allegedly mishandling her medical records.

The woman, a resident of Texas identified as Jane Doe, filed the suit specifically against CEO Travis Kalanick and former executives Eric Alexander and Emil Michael on the grounds that they violated her privacy and defamed her.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Uber has taken start-up culture, in which 'fierceness' and ‘always be hustling,’ two key ‘Uber Competencies,’ are prioritized above people to a new extreme, perpetuating rape culture and violating all bounds of decency as to customer privacy,” Doe’s lawyers said in their complaint, taking direct shots at the company’s internal cultural. 

Uber has endured significant public scrutiny in recent months, since former employee Susan Fowler detailed her experiences of alleged sexual harassment at the company that were mishandled by human resources.

“Rape denial is just another form of the toxic gender discrimination that is endemic at Uber and ingrained in its culture,” continued Doe’s lawyers, who filed the suit in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. 

The case stems from a 2014 incident in which Doe was raped by an Uber driver in India. The company received heavy blowback for the incident and was temporarily banned in Delhi. Driver Shiv Kumar Yadav was convicted of rape and is serving life in prison. 

“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,” Uber said in a statement at the time.

Last week, Recode reported that Alexander traveled to India and obtained the victim’s medical records, sharing what he found with Kalanick and Michael. The group reportedly speculated that the victim was a part of a conspiracy being conducted by Uber’s Indian rival, Ola.

“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,” Doe’s attorney, Douglas Wigdor, said in a statement provided to the Guardian.

In the wake of the backlash the company has tried to repair its image. Uber hired former attorney general Eric HolderEric H. HolderJuan Williams: Momentum builds against gerrymandering GOP worries as state Dems outperform in special elections House votes to curb asset seizures MORE to conduct an independent investigation of the company’s culture. Uber released recommendations based on Holder's findings on Tuesday.