Uber ends forced arbitration for sex assault, harassment claims

15 May, 2018, 22:17 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • Uber is making a major change

"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", West wrote.

San Francisco - Uber is eliminating forced arbitration for passengers who allege sexual assault by the company's drivers.

Other changes include a "safety transparency report" that includes sex assault and harassment data.

In a move mirroring its rival, Lyft no longer will require complaints about sexual assault and harassment be heard in private arbitration, with all settlements remaining confidential.

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

West said he expected the number of reported assaults to increase in the first six to nine months after reporting the initial figures because "people will see that we are paying attention, that we are counting, that we looking to act on this data and that will encourage more reporting". That includes investigations into the possible use of illegal software to monitor competitors and even disrupt efforts to regulate the ride-sharing service. There's no public timetable yet for when Uber will release that report.

"We think the numbers are going to be disturbing", said Tony West, a former government prosecutor during the Obama administration who became Uber's chief legal officer after Khosrowshahi took over.

The company says it will lean on hired advisors such as Ebony Tucker of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Cindy Southworth of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Tina Tchen, a founder of the New York Time's Up Legal Defense Fund. The company's revised policies, in addition to not being applied retroactively, also don't apply to class-action claims.

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Uber's arbitration policy had previously been challenged in lawsuits, according to CNN.

With hopes for an initial public offering sometime in 2019, Uber is eager to move past a series of scandals that rocked the company over the past year and is trying to distance itself from behavior that prompted a grass-roots campaign urging riders to #DeleteUber.

Beyond Uber, there's been a push to cut back on the use of forced arbitration by employers. Not long after he took the job late previous year, he wrote his own blog post in which he proclaimed: "We do the right thing". That means victims who wish to file lawsuits about harassment will still have to do so individually, and will still not be able to bring a case on behalf of many plaintiffs.

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