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Uber's UK legal problems mount with sexual discrimination suit

[LONDON] Uber Technologies faced another legal setback in the UK as a 44-year-old female driver sued for sexual discrimination, claiming the company's practices unfairly disadvantage women.

The suit, being bought by GMB trade union on behalf of the woman, claims that the company fails to provide sufficient security to female drivers, whose ability to work may be affected as a result, lawyers said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

Uber didn't respond to a request for comment. 

The lawsuit is among several developments that are increasing pressure on San Francisco-based Uber.

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London's transport regulator is proposing banning the service from the capital because of concerns about passenger safety and an employment tribunal appeal will start probing pay and vacation time for drivers Wednesday.

"Once again we have a member with serious concerns about Uber's systems and practices which place the basic safety needs of the worker as secondary to the imposition of a rigid and purely profit-based model," Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said.

The woman sued because drivers don't know a customer's journey until the passenger is already in the car, and if the destination is to a remote or unsafe area, the driver has no option to cancel the trip.

She's also alleging that a driver can't cancel the journey should a customer become aggressive.

Similarly, if a customer becomes aggressive in the car, the driver cannot cancel the journey and, if she asks the passenger to leave the car, she faces a complaint and low rating which could affect future work, according to the statement.

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