An Indian woman has alleged that she was raped by an Uber driver, and she has won the case. Now, she is suing the ride-hailing service as they have “violated her a second time” by obtaining her medical record and using them to question her credibility.
The woman, identified only as “Jane Doe,” is a Texas resident.
The Guardian reported that the suit was filed Thursday, June 15, after news surfaced last week that Eric Alexander, a top Uber executive, has been fired.
The woman’s case singled out Alexander, along with CEO Travis Kalanick and another former executive Emil Michael, for violation of her privacy and defamation. It accused Uber and the said officials of illegally acquiring her medical records from the assault, with the intent to prove collusion “with a rival company to harm Uber’s business.”
In 2014, the woman filed rape charges against an Uber driver, leading to outrage against the company in India and even its temporary banning in Delhi. The driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was later on convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Uber also received backlash for its failure to perform background checks, as the driver was found to also be facing four other criminal charges when he attacked the victim.
While Uber expressed support for Jane Doe during the case, it reportedly took a different view of the case — at least internally. A few days after the attack, Alexander supposedly traveled to India and got hold of the victim’s medical records.
It was alleged that Alexander, then Uber Asia Pacific president of business, shared the records with the two other defendants. They were believed to theorize that the victim was a pawn in a scheme of their Indian competitor Ola to stain their multibillion-dollar startup’s reputation.
While it remains unclear how Alexander got access to the medical records, the suit alleges that he met with Delhi police and obtained those confidential files. It also proposes that Uber still has possession of a copy of the documents.
“The new complaint arises as a result of Uber obtaining [victim’s] detailed and confidential medical records, sharing them amongst executives and discussing that her rape was somehow part of a plan hatched by a competitor to derail Uber’s growth in India,” said Wigdor partner Jeanne M. Christensen, representing Jane Doe, in an email to Huffington Post.
Uber Amid A Wave Of Scandals
On June 6, Alexander was fired after several reporters started to inquire about the incident. Michael also left Uber last Monday amid continuing pressure from the Uber board, while Kalanick followed on Tuesday with an indefinite leave of absence.
Back in 2015, Jane Doe also sued Uber for fraud and negligence, reportedly settled for $3 million at the least.
The rape incident prompted Uber to roll out more safety features, such as improving background checks of drivers and installing an in-app “panic” button for India users.
Today, Uber is still rocked by a number of scandals. It recently released the results of a probe into allegations of sexual assault and gender discrimination inside the company, and the Uber board adopted report recommendations that included slashing Kalanick’s overall role.
Now, its top management is looking empty, with several vacancies it needs to fill.