- An Uber executive obtained the medical records of a woman passenger who was raped in Delhi in 2014
- It is not clear on whose authority was he investigating the issue or how he came to possess the report
- The official concerned had even circulated the report among other employees including the Uber CEO
In 2015, the Delhi High Court sentenced Uber cab driver Shiv Kumar Yadav to life imprisonment for raping a woman in his taxi. She was raped in December 2014. The 27-year-old was returning from a dinner party in Gurgaon and happened to fall asleep. Yadav taking advantage of the situation took the taxi to a secluded spot and raped her.
The court believed it had enough evidence to prosecute Yadav but it seems like one Uber executive had a tough time believing it to be true.
According to a report in Recode, the executive in question, Eric Alexander, the president of business in the Asia Pacific had come to Delhi obtained the medical records of the woman who was raped. Not only that he showed the medical records to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and SVP Emil Michael. In addition, numerous executives at the car-hailing company were either told about the records or shown them.
In fact, Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO, had at that time issued a statement on the rape: "What happened over the weekend in New Delhi is horrific. Our entire team's hearts go out to the victim of this despicable crime. We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery.
We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs. We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women's safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women."
Speaking to Recode, Uber officials have mentioned that the executive Eric Alexander is no longer working with them. Uber had been grappling with allegations of sexism and sexual harassment and that the company had badly managed those instances. There was investigation conducted and as a result of that 20 employees were fired, however, at that time Eric was not one among them. In fact, his case came up during the investigation, where his misdemeanour was proved.
Uber was banned by the Delhi government following the incident in 2014 and only in 2015 was the ban lifted. It was difficult for the Uber executives to digest these allegations and the Recode report says that things came to such a pass that Uber was even considering competitor Ola behind all this.
The company has been unable to address the growing number of complaints of harassment by their drivers in India. Now, this incident of the executive going as far as obtaining a medical report shows how badly the company has bungled up the investigation. Instead of looking for ways to solve and change the negative outlook, they have gone and portrayed themselves as a company that is dismissive of such serious sexual harassment claims. This may not bode well for Uber’s reputation.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:31 PM