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Uber topped headlines yesterday with announcements of safety feature updates, an app redesign, and Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi shouting, “We want to be the operating system of your life,” at an event in San Francisco. But, in the midst of it all, a different story remains.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post released a report highlighting Uber’s “broken” investigation process and the special 80-person unit that deals with the rideshare giant’s most harrowing incidents.
According to interviews with more than 20 past and present investigators, Uber trains its Special Investigations Unit to act for the good of the company, overriding customer safety.
The Ub– rather large takeaways
Uber operates on a three-strike system with its drivers, but executives sometimes keep the rule in their blind spot to keep these contract workers behind the wheel. One example of this kind of rule-bending led to a rider alleging she was raped.
Ex-Uber investigators say the company prohibited them from reporting any incidents to police or from leading victims to seek legal counsel — even when they received revelations of felonies.
According to former employees, Uber’s hard stance on maintaining drivers as independent contractors shelters the company from any liability of legal wrongdoing by their drivers.
Naturally, Uber disagrees
But former Uber investigators say the company’s soft-pedaled (what’s the opposite of lead-foot?) review process is fractured. They say it keeps passenger complaints at least 2 car distances away and bad drivers too close for comfort.