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Lyft has yet to disclose sexual assault, abuse incidents as cases mount

In Could 2018, just after a CNN investigation into sexual assault and abuse incidents by ride-hail motorists, Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT), every single committed to releasing protection transparency reports that would disclose inner data on the most severe security incidents on their platforms. By the stop of 2019, Uber place out its initially report, which unveiled it had received 5,981 studies of sexual assault involving travellers and drivers in the two several years prior, which includes 464 studies of rape.

Lyft, for its portion, has not adopted by on its very own prior timelines for putting out the report.

When CNN Business asked Lyft in September 2019 about the standing of the report, Lyft reported it planned to launch its transparency report by the conclusion of the yr. In May possibly 2020, Lyft instructed CNN Enterprise the business planned to launch the report that calendar year.

In March 2021, Lyft’s head of plan growth, Jennifer Brandenburger, cited a roadblock: Lyft, she mentioned, is ready for Uber to take care of its ongoing situation with the California General public Utilities Commission prior to releasing its possess report. (The CPUC requested additional information on incidents that happened in the state and then fined Uber $59 million for failing to comply with its request CPUC and Uber are in ongoing mediation to take care of the concern.)

In a assertion, Lyft spokesperson Ashley Adams told CNN Business enterprise, “The CPUC’s current steps place victims’ privacy at possibility and ought to be solved in advance of we will release our security report.”

When asked about the transformed timelines, Lyft informed CNN Business enterprise it had determined to incorporate data from 2019 in its report and was waiting around on governing administration targeted traffic fatality facts to be introduced. By the time it was, the CPUC had taken concern with Uber’s report.

As Lyft waits, lawful circumstances against the enterprise carry on to grow stemming from its handling of alleged sexual assault and rape incidents. At minimum 72 passengers are suing the enterprise more than alleged incidents. Of these circumstances, a small range are expected to go to demo through a coordinated proceeding. Some of the instances allege Lyft has been conscious that its motorists were being sexually assaulting and raping feminine travellers for decades but has failed to acquire suitable methods to guard passengers and alert them of the situation.

The first demo is set to get started in January 2022.

(Lyft referred CNN Company to its statement from December 2019, soon after suits were submitted: “All people deserves the ability to transfer about the earth safely and securely, yet gals nevertheless deal with disproportionate challenges. We recognize these challenges, which is why we are relentless in setting up basic safety into just about every element of our do the job. That means continually investing in new attributes and insurance policies to safeguard our riders and drivers.”)

According to Levin Simes Abrams LLP, one of three companies bringing the conditions in opposition to Lyft, the variety of travellers in search of lawful counsel about alleged sexual assault and abuse statements by Lyft drivers is a lot higher. The firm said it has retained a lot more than 400 clientele whose situations it is investigating and prosecuting, with about 80 circumstances filed at this time. Estey & Bomberger LLP, yet another firm bringing independent instances in opposition to Lyft and is also portion of the coordinated continuing, explained it has “several” other alleged victims whose scenarios it has nonetheless to file.

“These [cases] are heading to hold coming except if [Lyft] variations its treatments or institutes a lot more protection measures,” Angela Nehmens, affiliate attorney at Levin Simes Abrams LLP, instructed CNN Business enterprise past month. “Uber is at least earning an attempt to be open up with the general public. … Lyft is not performing that at all.”

“They’re not cooperative,” stated Laurel Simes, a associate at Levin Simes Abrams LLP, who additional that whilst Uber satisfies periodically with the company to try out and take care of situations, Lyft does not.

In a statement immediately after this story published, Lyft pushed back again at this characterization. “As the courtroom recently observed, Lyft has been engaged in ongoing conversations with Levin Simes,” Adams explained, referring to a modern listening to relating to the coordinated proceeding. “We continue being open to talking about any of their clients’ circumstances.”

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

For Lyft there is a lot at stake in releasing the report, which includes the probable to dent its brand just as the US financial state is commencing to reopen.

Lyft is also struggling with an ongoing course action lawsuit from buyers alleging securities fraud. The go well with, which was first submitted in 2019 just after the company went general public, exclusively alleges a disconnect in between Lyft’s community picture and its managing of sexual assault incidents.

“Lyft constructed a name as a company that cares about ladies, protection, and social challenges. Lyft’s concentration on the toughness of its track record was a essential selling place to IPO traders,” according to the grievance. “Opposite to the public picture … Lyft had a pervasive issue with sexual assaults dedicated by its drivers.”

The criticism even more notes that Lyft unsuccessful to disclose this in its IPO registration assertion, which designed no point out of the problem.

Lyft declined to remark on the investor lawsuit.

According to Susan Sorenson, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania whose analysis areas consist of the concern of violence in opposition to women, it is “affordable lead to for problem” that Lyft has yet to disclose this information, which would support outline the mother nature and scope of the challenge on its system for the standard community.

Sorenson reported companies “can and do consider action when they feel it is really in their very best interest.”

Info all-around basic safety incidents can assistance persons make educated decisions about how and when to vacation, but the transparency also runs the chance of harming a company’s status, according to Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Distinguished Professor of urban arranging and layout at UCLA.

“[The companies] must be incredibly concerned if people begin stating that there is certainly an expanding range of persons that complain about harassment because this whole thought of secure vacation via Lyft or Uber falls apart,” reported Loukaitou-Sideris. “I consider which is why they’re really significantly safeguarding their knowledge on this level.”

Loukaitou-Sideris, who has researched sexual harassment in community transit, mentioned not making a report could also discourage reporting of incidents to the corporation.

1 cause folks do not report alleged incidents of sexual violence, according to Loukaitou-Sideris, is mainly because they understand that nothing significantly will occur as a end result of their reporting. “By not publishing this data, it is a person a lot more explanation that justifies that solution,” she explained, citing a doable unintended consequence of Lyft having however to put out a report.

Uber, meanwhile, is slated to publish its next transparency report later on this calendar year. Although Uber “took a actually critical to start with step” in releasing its details, according to Sorenson, she stated there is even now a great deal much more to be finished.

Sorenson mentioned it would be handy to launch uncooked info in an anonymized way so that it can be examined. Also, she and attorneys at Levin Simes Abrams LLC explained experience-hail organizations could require drivers to file rides, for case in point, so there’s extra accountability within automobiles for the two motorists and travellers. (Uber just lately started off prompting motorists to sign up their dashcams with the organization, citing that it can assist drivers comply with community surveillance and recording regulations. The business stated it alerts riders that their vacation will be recorded if a driver has registered the dashcam, which may possibly prevent protection incidents from happening.)

Correction: An before model of this tale misattributed a quotation to a different associate at Levin Simes Abrams LLC who was on a group call with CNN Business for this story.

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