Despite its popularity, Uber has become embroiled in yet another controversy — and this one is especially disturbing.
Image cred: OiMax / flickr
For city residents, the recent surge in Uber’s popularity comes as no surprise. The service is convenient and easy to navigate, eliminating the difficulty of hailing a cab.
Yet, far from every aspect of Uber’s meteoric rise has been without controversy. Just a few weeks ago, a New York woman was reportedly sexually assaulted by a driver on what should have been a routine journey from the Lower East Side to her apartment in Queens, according to CBS New York.
“My only fault that night was being female,” the woman told reporters, before sharing just what had happened. In the course of the ride she had fallen asleep, and woke up to the driver touching her face. Soon after, he leaned in to kiss her, and she “forcefully pushed him away. And luckily, the door was unlocked, so I was able to grab my things and just run back to my house,” she recalled.
Unfortunately, as has been widely reported in the past few months, this type of incident is not uncommon. According to a recent article in The Atlantic, similar stories have been reported in cities across the country.
Despite several of these unseemly incidents making local and national news, not much has been done to prevent future attacks. Most city police departments do not track the locations of assaults, making it hard to say where, and how frequently Uber drivers have committed them.
Uber itself has received serious criticism for lacking an extensive screening process when hiring drivers. In response to the recent incident in New York, they delivered a terse and predictable statement, stating, “This is a troubling report and we have immediately suspended the driver as we investigate further.”
Attention has understandably shifted to the nature of Uber’s background research on potential drivers. While the company has vehemently denied public criticisms, the many incidences of violence have not helped their case. One driver in Washington D.C., when asked about the process, said, “[In] a real background check, the government approves you and checks everything. But Uber checks kind of. They’re kind of background checks.”
A Need For Confidence
Of course, Uber representatives have refuted accusations of excessive leniency. They point to the fact that at least ten percent of applicants have failed their background test and to the general unpredictability of human behavior. Still, many customers are in need of more substantial reassurance.
A few upstart public awareness campaigns have been launched in the wake of these reports, most notably Who’s Driving You?, which shows potential “ride sharers” the safety aspects that companies like Uber and Lyft might be skimming over. A review of this site reveals numerous troubling and disturbing incidents involving Uber and their drivers.
Hopefully, with pressure mounting, Uber will ramp up its background searches so that their continuously-expanding customer base will be able to return home more comfortably. On the other hand, their recruitment struggles serve as a clear lesson to other growing companies: adequate background searches are not optional.
At Integrated Security Services, we’re aware of how vital this stage of the hiring process is, and how reckless it is to skim over it. Each case is complicated and unique, and our team of private investigators are experienced in handling volatile topics with skill and consideration.
Customers need to put pressure on Uber to convince the company to hire licensed and independent private investigators, such as those at Integrated Security, to responsibly conduct background checks that are comprehensive, thorough, and prompt. While Uber is a company providing an undeniably savvy product to the public, their brand has still become shrouded in controversy. So no matter what they do next, don’t let your company suffer the same fate.