Travis Kalanick may be out as Uber CEO, but he’s still being named in fresh new lawsuits against the rideshare giant. In what may be the most financially significant lawsuit yet against Uber, Bloomberg reports a pension fund is suing Uber for misleading investors about all of the damaging lawsuits the company had in its pipeline while still raising capital. (That suit was filed right here in a San Francisco U.S. District Court, and the full text is available online.) Then just this morning, Uber was nailed with two new sexual harassment cases filed by female riders who say they were groped or sexually harassed by Uber drivers. Both of those women are represented by attorney Lisa Bloom.
BREAKING: We just filed two new sexual misconduct cases against Uber. When will this $70B company protect women passengers? pic.twitter.com/tMRLEzEFlk— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) September 27, 2017
The name Lisa Bloom may sound familiar. She’s the L.A.-based attorney who’s pursuing a civil suit against the Warriors’ Draymond Green over a 2016 bar fight, and she represented comedian Kathy Griffin in the whole Donald Trump decapitated head brouha. In this particular case, one of Bloom’s clients says she “was groped by an Uber driver who repeatedly put his hands on her breasts under her shirt.” The other woman says the driver “showed her pictures of prostitutes he transports, asked about her sexual history, demanded sex from her, and deliberately drove the wrong way to prolong the harassment.” Bloom now represents nine different women bringing sexual misconduct charges against Uber.
But the investor lawsuit has potentially much larger ramifications for the company. As CNet points out, that suit “could then extend to all of Uber's investors” if granted class-action status. The suit is brought by a little-known Texas retirement fund called Irving Firemen's Relief & Retirement, who invested $2 million in Uber last year. Their attorneys claim the fund has seen a 15 percent decline in their investment, and blames the whole laundry list of Uber scandals including the possibly criminal ‘Greyball’ program, the wildly unethical ‘Hell’ program, the Google-Waymo lawsuit, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, the rape victim’s medical records scandal, and the whole systemic sexism thing.
“In a span of only a few months a shocking litany of corporate misconduct came to the fore, and investors learned startling truths about the willingness of Uber’s C-Suite executives to flout local, national and international law, stifle competition, misappropriate trade secrets and seek vengeance against detractors,” the lawsuit alleges. “The Company’s vaunted corporate culture was revealed to in truth consist of a toxic hotbed of misogyny, sexual discrimination, and disregard for the law that threatened the Company’s reputation, business and prospects.”
So that 180 days of change campaign is not going swimmingly at the moment. But Uber is incrementally trying to change the culture by at least giving UberPool drivers a little bit more money. The Chronicle reports that Uber is boosting pay for UberPool drivers, albeit by just $1 for every pickup after the first rider here in San Francisco. (In some cities, the additional pay will be only 50 cents per rider.) UberPool, of course, is that carpool program whose affordable price seems great when you hail the ride but then you endure a number of remarkably illogical detours along the way.
That meager driver raise doesn’t sound like much, but it is a step in the right direction and may help Uber retain drivers. The company may have to do the same to retain staff in their besieged Corporate Legal department.