Lyft has but to reveal sexual assault incidents as instances develop

Lyft has yet to disclose sexual assault incidents as cases grow

In May 2018, after a CNN investigation into sexual assault and abuse incidents by ride-hail drivers, Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT), every dedicated to releasing security transparency stories that might disclose inner knowledge on essentially the most extreme security incidents on their platforms. By the tip of 2019, Uber put out its first report, which revealed it had obtained 5,981 stories of sexual assault involving passengers and drivers within the two years prior, together with 464 stories of rape.

Lyft, for its half, has not adopted by means of by itself prior timelines for placing out the report.

When Source Business requested Lyft in September 2019 in regards to the standing of the report, Lyft mentioned it deliberate to launch its transparency report by the tip of the yr. In May 2020, Lyft informed Source Business the corporate deliberate to launch the report that yr.

In March 2021, Lyft’s head of coverage improvement, Jennifer Brandenburger, cited a roadblock: Lyft, she mentioned, is ready for Uber to resolve its ongoing situation with the California Public Utilities Commission previous to releasing its personal report. (The CPUC requested further data on incidents that occurred within the state after which fined Uber for failing to adjust to its request; CPUC and Uber are in ongoing mediation to resolve the difficulty.)

In a press release, Lyft spokesperson Ashley Adams informed Source Business, “The CPUC’s recent actions put victims’ privacy at risk and must be resolved before we will release our safety report.”

When requested in regards to the modified timelines, Lyft informed Source Business it had determined to incorporate knowledge from 2019 in its report and was ready on authorities visitors fatality knowledge to be launched. By the time it was, the CPUC had taken situation with Uber’s report.

As Lyft waits, authorized instances towards the corporate proceed to develop stemming from its dealing with of alleged sexual assault and rape incidents. At least 72 passengers are suing the corporate over alleged incidents. Of these instances, a small quantity are anticipated to go to trial by means of a coordinated continuing. Some of the instances allege Lyft has been conscious that its drivers had been sexually assaulting and raping feminine passengers for years however has did not take satisfactory steps to guard passengers and warn them of the difficulty.

The first trial is about to start in January 2022.

(Lyft referred Source Business to its assertion from December 2019, after fits had been filed: “Everyone deserves the ability to move about the world safely, yet women still face disproportionate risks. We recognize these risks, which is why we are relentless in building safety into every aspect of our work. That means continually investing in new features and policies to protect our riders and drivers.”)

According to Levin Simes Abrams LLP, certainly one of three companies bringing instances towards Lyft, the variety of passengers searching for authorized counsel over alleged sexual assault and abuse claims by Lyft drivers is way greater. The agency mentioned it has retained greater than 400 shoppers whose instances it’s investigating and prosecuting, with roughly 80 instances filed at present. Estey & Bomberger LLP, one other agency bringing separate instances towards Lyft and can also be a part of the coordinated continuing, mentioned it has “many” different alleged victims whose instances it has but to file.

“These [cases] are going to keep coming unless [Lyft] changes its procedures or institutes more safety measures,” Angela Nehmens, affiliate lawyer at Levin Simes Abrams LLP, informed Source Business final month. “Uber is at least making an attempt to be open with the public. … Lyft is not doing that at all.”

“They’re not cooperative,” mentioned Rachel Abrams, a companion at Levin Simes Abrams, who added that whereas Uber meets periodically with the agency to attempt to resolve instances, Lyft doesn’t.

Lyft declined to touch upon the instances.

Lyft has been hit with more driver rape, sexual assault allegations

For Lyft there’s a lot at stake in releasing the report, together with the potential to dent its model simply because the US economic system is starting to reopen.

Lyft can also be dealing with an ongoing class motion lawsuit from traders alleging securities fraud. The swimsuit, which was first filed in 2019 after the corporate went public, particularly alleges a disconnect between Lyft’s public picture and its dealing with of sexual assault incidents.

“Lyft built a reputation as a company that cares about women, safety, and social issues. Lyft’s focus on the strength of its reputation was a key selling point to IPO investors,” in accordance with the criticism. “Contrary to the public image … Lyft had a pervasive problem with sexual assaults committed by its drivers.”

The criticism additional notes that Lyft did not disclose this in its IPO registration assertion, which made no mention of the issue.

Lyft declined to touch upon the investor lawsuit.

According to Susan Sorenson, a professor of social coverage on the University of Pennsylvania whose analysis areas embody the difficulty of violence towards girls, it’s “reasonable cause for concern” that Lyft has but to reveal this knowledge, which might assist outline the character and scope of the difficulty on its platform for most people.

Sorenson mentioned corporations “can and do take action when they feel it’s in their best interest.”

Information round security incidents may also help individuals make knowledgeable selections about how and when to journey, however the transparency additionally runs the chance of damaging an organization’s fame, in accordance with Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Distinguished Professor of city planning and design at UCLA.

“[The companies] should be very concerned if people start saying that there’s an increasing number of people that complain about harassment because this whole idea of safe travel through Lyft or Uber falls apart,” mentioned Loukaitou-Sideris. “I think that’s why they’re very much protecting their data on this point.”

Loukaitou-Sideris, who has studied sexual harassment in public transit, mentioned not producing a report might also discourage reporting of incidents to the corporate.

One motive individuals don’t report alleged incidents of sexual violence, in accordance with Loukaitou-Sideris, is as a result of they understand that nothing a lot will occur because of their reporting. “By not publishing this data, it is one more reason that justifies that approach,” she mentioned, citing a doable unintended consequence of Lyft having but to place out a report.

Uber, in the meantime, is slated to publish its second transparency report later this yr. While Uber “took a really important first step” in releasing its knowledge, in accordance with Sorenson, she mentioned there’s nonetheless rather more to be completed.

Sorenson mentioned it could be useful to launch uncooked knowledge in an anonymized manner in order that it may be studied. Additionally, she and attorneys at Levin Simes Abrams LLC mentioned ride-hail corporations might require drivers to document rides, for instance, so there’s extra accountability inside automobiles for each drivers and passengers. (Uber not too long ago began prompting drivers to register their dashcams with the corporate, citing that it could assist drivers comply with native surveillance and recording legal guidelines. The firm mentioned it alerts riders that their journey will likely be recorded if a driver has registered the dashcam, which can deter security incidents from occurring.)

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