Many women fear the possibility of harassment or assault in their workplace. And the fear only grows when it comes to female drivers in the ridesharing industry.
Recently, Bloomberg explored the growing epidemic of assaults and harassment for female drivers who work through different ridesharing apps, including Uber and Lyft. Many female drivers recounted inappropriate experiences with customers while working, including sexual harassment.
The dark side of working for Uber
These incidents often do additional damage to the driver as they may have to take unwanted time off to recover from the experiences. One driver, Judy Pagliocco, told a harrowing experience about an unwanted sexual conversation a passenger started.
“He made a joke about not being a serial killer,” Pagliocco said to Bloomberg. “Then he started talking about sexual stuff,” and all she could think about was: “What if he tries to grab or touch me?”
Pagliocco ended up taking a few days off from driving after the passenger left her car and returning to another unwanted advance from a customer. She said she relies on Uber to support her family, but she has started to look for other work.
Many female drivers have reported similar stories to Uber and Lyft. Uber even expanded its safety features to include the ability to call 911 from the app and allow drivers to share trips with friends or family. However, the safety features are still not enough for the thousands of female drivers dealing with the harassment on a daily basis.
Luckily, the New York State Department of Labor often works with workers to help communicate with employers about harassment issues. They can also refer resources or support services to help deal with traumatizing experiences.