Uber ordered to pay $59million fine over sexual assault data

Ride-hailing firm Uber has been ordered to pay a fine of $59million (£43.7million) to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) after a judge found the global operator had failed to provide sufficient data relating to sexual assault and harassment claims.

The fine follows Uber’s first Safety Report released in 2019, where the CPUC requested the ride-share firm provide more data to back up claims.

The 2019 safety report detailed more than 3,000 reports of sexual assaults. The CPUC requested further details of the names and authorship of the report.

As part of the CPUC’s conclusion it stated: ‘Contrary to Uber’s assertion, the assigned ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) did not punish Uber for publishing its US Safety Report or single Uber out for disparate treatment.

‘Uber was the first TNC (Transnation Corporation) to publish such a document concerning sexual assault and sexual harassment claims arising out of it TNC passenger services. With that publication, it become incumbent upon the Commission to conduct an inquiry and gather information about these claims that are the subject of the US Safety Report.

‘Uber cannot trumpet the existence of such a document but decline to provide the Commission with the facts surrounding the claims and the authorship of said document.

‘The Commission would be remiss in its regulatory responsibilities if it had failed to conduct a follow-up inquiry. Rather than casting itself in the role of a victim of regulatory overreach, it is Uber who is playing the part of the obstructionist who has prevented the Commission from carrying out its regulatory, investigative, and enforcement duties.

‘The Commission cannot, and will not, allow Uber to engage in such conduct with impunity.’

Uber reacted to the news of the fine by opposing the ‘violation of privacy’. An Uber spokesperson told Business Insider: “The CPUC has been insistent in its demands that we release the full names and contact information of sexual assault survivors without their consent. We opposed this shocking violation of privacy, alongside many victims’ rights advocates.”

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