Taxi hailing app Uber is facing a fresh legal battle, after a female driver claimed that the company’s procedures unfairly disadvantage women.
The 44-year-old, who has requested anonymity, claims that the Uber operation is putting her and other women at risk.
Her complaint stems from the fact that drivers don’t know of a passenger’s destination until they are already in the vehicle and have no option to refuse the fare if they believe they are being asked to drive to an isolated or potentially unsafe location.
The claimant also argues that drivers have limited options if someone they have picked up becomes aggressive, as asking for them to leave could lead to a complaint which may in turn mean they are offered less work in future.
The claim, which will be heard at the Central London Employment Tribunal, calls for the company to take steps to ensure that drivers’ safety isn’t compromised. It is being supported by the GMB.
Maria Ludkin, the trade union’s legal director, said: “Once again we have a member with serious concerns about Uber’s systems and practices, which place the basic safety needs of the worker as secondary to the imposition of a rigid and purely profit-based model.
“We look forward to allowing the courts to examine whether this aspect of their model discriminates against women drivers.”
In response to the criticisms, a Uber spokesperson said: “If a driver doesn’t want to go to a particular area there is no obligation for them to do so. Drivers can also set a preferred destination in the app and Uber will only allocate bookings heading that way.
“One of the main reasons why women choose to drive with Uber is because of the safety features in the app. All trips are GPS tracked and a driver is able to share a live map of their trip with a friend or loved one.”
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