Uber Gets Dinged by the Federal Trade Commission, Too!

Uber is spending a lot of management time and money these days dealing with complaints from multiple U.S. Federal Government Agencies.

 

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is investigating Uber for alleged unfair labor practices.  The battle is over whether Uber may enforce arbitration agreements with employees who allege they were misclassified as independent contractors and whether Uber paid them all the tip money they had earned.

 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is investigating allegations that the Uber app’s system for rating drivers is racially discriminatory.

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an investigation into allegations that Uber violated certain consumer protection provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

 

The FTC investigation led to a proposed Consent Decree and Order that the FTC announced on August 15, 2017.  The FTC’s press release stated, in part:

 

“Uber Technologies, Inc. has agreed to implement a comprehensive privacy program and obtain regular, independent audits to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the ride-sharing company deceived consumers by failing to monitor employee access to consumer personal information and by failing to reasonably secure sensitive consumer data stored in the cloud.

 

In its complaint, the FTC alleged that the San Francisco-based firm failed to live up to its claims that it closely monitored employee access to consumer and driver data and that it deployed reasonable measures to secure personal information it stored on a third-party cloud provider’s servers.

 

“Uber failed consumers in two key ways: First by misrepresenting the extent to which it monitored its employees’ access to personal information about users and drivers, and second by misrepresenting that it took reasonable steps to secure that data,” said FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen. “This case shows that, even if you’re a fast growing company, you can’t leave consumers behind: you must honor your privacy and security promises.”

 

The Order requires Uber to do the following:

 

1. Create and maintain a comprehensive privacy program;

 

2. Obtain initial and biennial assessments of the privacy program by third party professionals over a period of 20 years;

 

3. “For 5 years after the issuance date of the Order, deliver a copy of this Order to: (i) all principals, officers, directors, and LLC managers and members; (ii) all employees, agents, and representatives having managerial responsibility for conduct related to the subject matter of the Order; and (iii) any business entity resulting from any change in structure as set forth in the Provision of this Order titled Compliance Report and Notices. Delivery must occur within 10 days after the effective date of this Order for current personnel. For all others, delivery must occur before they assume their responsibilities.”

 

4. Create certain records for 20 years after the issuance date of the Order, and retain each such record for 5 years; and

 

5. “Within 10 days of receipt of a written request from a representative of the Commission, (Uber) must: submit additional compliance reports or other requested information, which must be sworn under penalty of perjury, and produce records for inspection and copying.

 

Wouldn’t you rather spend your management time and your company’s money creating and delivering great products and services? Don’t you think that’s how your customers would want you to be focused?

 

Please take a little time over the next few days to do your own informal risk assessment on how well your company is doing complying with the laws governing it.

 

Thank you!

 

Stuart Blake

Mobile – (949) 842-9379

sblake@innovacounsel.com

 

Michael Oswald

Mobile – 208.914.3086

moswald@innovacounsel.com

 

www.innovacounsel.com

 

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