As an example of the failings of Uber's background checks, the complaint cites the more than 8,000 drivers in MA who were pulled off the road after the state government made a decision to introduce more stringent screenings and reviewed the records of the 71,000 people who drove on Uber or Lyft. Uber settled that suit in November 2016.
The lawsuit joins a growing list against Uber including a case related to a passenger rape in India and the Uber exec who later unlawfully accessed the victim's medical records.
Uber's website says the company is "dedicated to keeping people safe on the road" and that its technology "enables us to focus on rider safety before, during and after every trip".
In a statement to The Register, an Uber spokesperson said: "Uber received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it".
Uber has been beleaguered by dozens of issues over the a year ago.
Alleged incidents have occurred in many countries where Uber operates, and have resulted in several high-level employees departing from the company. Those kicked off with a #DeleteUber movement in January, then moved onto workplace sexual harassment allegations and an internal investigation led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder.
Now Uber is trying to turn things around with new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Uber, however, insisted that only 170 of those had claims of sexual assault and that the rest may have been "reports from riders who were making claims about sexual assault on other transport services, discussions about sexual assaults in the news, and reports about passengers who got into cars that were not Uber vehicles and were then sexually assaulted".
The new lawsuit against Uber was filed in California's U.S. District Court for the Northern District. The suit cites numerous cases of rape, violence and sexual assault- along with screening lapses in Maryland and MA - as evidence of its claim that Uber has prioritized profits over the safety of its passengers. The two female riders allege that they were "subject to rape, sexual assault or gender-motivated violence or harassment by their Uber driver in the last four years".
The legal complaint, filed by Wigdor LLP on behalf of two plaintiffs, alleges that "thousands of female passengers have endured unlawful conduct by their Uber drivers including rape, sexual assault, physical violence and gender-motivated harassment". They are seeking substantial changes to how Uber vets its drivers, according to Recode, as well as compensation for instances of rape they themselves allegedly experienced.
The two women say Uber's background checks are inadequate and the company has misrepresented how safe the service actually is.
This isn't the first time Uber has received criticism that its background checks are too lax.