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Uber APAC head fired for holding Delhi rape victim’s medical records for a year

Eric Alexander, Uber’s president of business in the Asia Pacific, has been fired for obtaining and holding for about a year the medical records of a Delhi woman who was raped by an Uber driver, reports Recode. Alexander then shared the medical records with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Senior Vice President Emil Michael, and they collectively either spoke about the records or showed them to several other executives at the company.

The report adds that at the height of the aftermath of the Delhi case, Alexander, who was in India, began investigating the victim’s claims and obtained her medical records. It’s unclear if he did so legally. He then shared these records, which were part of an ongoing criminal investigation at the time, with Kalanick and Michael. Following this, Alexander held on to the records for about a year. It’s not clear if Uber still has a copy of the records.

This development came as part of law firms Perkin Coie and Covington & Burling’s investigation of sexual harassment and other workplace malpractice claims at the company, which has so far led to 20 people being fired.

In February, Uber’s Senior VP of engineering Amit Singhal was also asked to resign by Kalanick, because Singhal had not disclosed to the company that his departure from Google had been related to allegations of sexual harassment. The incident in question apparently took place in 2015, although Singhal had denied the claims at the time. Singhal had joined Uber only a month before being told to leave the company.

Timeline of the Delhi case

December 2014

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– A young woman was raped and assaulted by her Uber driver in Delhi. The driver was part of the company’s recently launched low-cost India-only service UberGO. Following the investigation, Delhi Police raised several security concerns against Uber including the fact that there was no driver verification or background checks, no live GPS tracking system independent of the phone, and no driver license.

– Delhi Police filed an FIR against Uber for negligent conduct. A separate FIR was filed against Uber under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC. DCP (North) Madhur Verma said that Uber had cheated consumers by claiming to provide safe taxi rides with verified drivers.

January 2015

– A Delhi court charged Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav with rape, kidnapping and criminal intimidation. He was also charged with forgery for obtaining a fake character certificate through which he had secured the driver permit.

– The company was sued by the Delhi rape victim for negligence & fraud in the US federal court. This was an expected move after the victim had hired New York-based litigator Douglas Wigdor earlier in the month, to look into the possibility of suing Uber in US courts, since the company’s driver screening and passenger safety policies was formulated in the United States.

April 2015

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Uber asked a US district court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Delhi rape victim for negligence & fraud, because the company said it should not be held legally responsible for its driver’s act. In its filing to the court, the company stated that:

While Plaintiff undoubtedly can state a claim against her alleged assailant, she cannot state a claim against Uber US, which is the wrong party. Nor does California law govern a dispute involving an alleged wrong committed by one Indian citizen against another Indian citizen, in India.

September 2015

Surprisingly, the woman withdrew her court case against the company in the United States. In a notice filed in US District Court, Northern District of California, her lawyers submitted that “Plaintiff Jane Doe hereby voluntarily dismisses the above-captioned action against Defendant Uber Technologies with prejudice. Each side shall bear its own costs, expense expenses, and attorneys’ fees.”

November 2015

Shiv Kumar Yadav, the driver accused in the case, was found guilty on charges of rape, causing bodily harm and endangering the life of a woman under the Indian Penal Code. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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