May 24, 2018

Uber drops arbitration for sexual assault victims

15 May 2018, 10:32 | Brandon Parsons

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made company culture a priority

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made company culture a priority

Uber announced a major shift in the way it handles sexual assault and harassment cases on Tuesday, which will put an end to the company's culture of silencing victims.

"So moving forward, survivors will be free to choose to resolve their individual claims in the venue they prefer: in a mediation where they can choose confidentiality; in arbitration, where they can choose to maintain their privacy while pursuing their case; or in open court".

Now, Uber says employees, riders, and drivers can take those claims to open court or choose to join a class-action lawsuit. West added, "I want to thank (CNN) for the reporting that you've done on this issue".

Uber won't force survivors of sexual misconduct into arbitration anymore.

Prior to the announcement, Uber's terms of service required all allegations of this nature against drivers to be arbitrated outside of court.

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An April 2018 CNN search of police and court records in 20 major USA cities found that 103 Uber drivers had been accused of sexual assault over the previous four years; 31 drivers had been convicted and dozens of others faced criminal and civil cases at the time.

Uber will also publish a a safety transparency report that will include data on sexual assaults and other incidents that occur through its platform.

Not to be outdone, Lyft announced Tuesday it would also scrap its rules binding passengers and drivers to private arbitration and confidential settlements in cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct. That revelation kicked off 2017's annus horribilis, a year during which Uber saw itself bouncing from one crisis to the next. Our hope is that Uber ending forced arbitration for victims of sexual assault will begin a process to reduce future suffering by women passengers. Uber is mandated to respond by Wednesday.

Following CNN's investigation and the letter, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from CT, challenged Uber's use of forced arbitration and in a letter to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi "respectfully requested" the company end the practice.

Last month, Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer who authored a 2017 viral blog post about sexual harassment she endured while working there, penned an op-ed for the New York Times on how to terminate such behavior.

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