A woman sued Uber Technologies Inc on Thursday claiming top executives at the ride-hailing company improperly obtained her medical records after she was raped by a driver in India, according to court documents. The lawsuit, filed in a California federal court, comes two days after Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick said he would take a leave of absence from his troubled company to grieve for his recently deceased mother and to work on his leadership skills. Kalanick, under fire for fostering a culture of sexism and rule-breaking at the company he helped found, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The lawsuit cites several media reports which said Kalanick and others doubted the victim’s account of her ordeal.
“Uber executives duplicitously and publicly decried the rape, expressing sympathy for plaintiff, and shock and regret at the violent attack, while privately speculating, as outlandish as it is, that she had colluded with a rival company to harm Uber’s business,” the lawsuit said. In a statement on Thursday, Uber said: “No one should have to go through a horrific experience like this, and we’re truly sorry that she’s had to relive it over the last few weeks.”
The rape occurred in Delhi in December 2014. The Uber driver was convicted of rape and given a life sentence in prison in 2015. The lawsuit filed on Thursday said shortly after the rape occurred, a U.S. Uber executive “met with Delhi police and intentionally obtained plaintiff’s confidential medical records.” The lawsuit says Uber has retained a copy of those records. The woman, who is Indian and currently lives in the United States, sued Uber in 2015 alleging that the company had not established sufficient safety standards. That case was settled a few months later.