Interviews with over 20 current and former members of Uber‘s investigation team state that Uber puts the company’s liability over the safety of its riders. “Investigators are there first to protect Uber; and then next to protect the customer,” says former Uber investigator and trainer Lilli Flores. “Our job is to keep the tone of our conversations with customers and drivers so that Uber is not held liable.”
The investigations team, made up of around 80 employees, is tasked with handling the worst of the worst Uber rides gone wrong, yet has little to no control over the outcome of the situations. The agents are allegedly not allowed to contact police based on any of the situations they hear even when felonies are brought to their attention, and they are forbidden from advising riders to contact police or seek legal counsel.
According to the interviews, Uber employs a three-strike system for misbehaving drivers, but exceptions have been made in questionable cases. The Washington Post notes one instance in particular where a driver reportedly made sexual advances on three different riders. The investigator assigned to the case was overruled by an Uber executive, and the driver continued working until he allegedly raped a passenger. Even if drivers are kicked off the app, however, Uber does not inform the police, meaning they could technically transition to a competing ride-share company. After filing a report with Uber, victims state they often never hear if their concerns have been addressed or not.