Uber to Stop Forcing Sexual Assault Victims into Arbitration
15 May, 2018, 21:45 | Author: Patty Hardy
In April, 14 women who have accused Uber drivers of sexually assaulting them wrote a letter to the company's board, urging it to waive the arbitration agreement and allow them to proceed with a lawsuit in open court. Lyft, an Uber competitor, has a similar terms of service that says users will agree resolve claims through arbitration.
"Our announcement is effective immediately, and so if individuals are in arbitration and they'd rather pursue their individual claims of sexual harassment, sexual assault in open court or mediation, they're free to do that", West said.
In December, Microsoft announced it was eliminating forced arbitration agreements with employees who made sexual assault or harassment claims.
"It's important to give sexual assault, and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims". "So moving forward, survivors will be free to choose to resolve their individual claims in the venue they prefer".
West added that Uber will not require confidentiality provisions in any settlements.
Uber is announcing a major policy change on how it handles sexual assault and harassment cases, ending the practice of mandatory arbitration starting today.
"Divulging the details of what happened in a sexual assault or harassment should be up to the survivor, not us", Uber said.
Tony West, Uber's chief legal officer and former associate attorney general during the Obama administration, said the decision for survivors to tell their stories, if they choose, "ought to reside with the survivor".
Uber is now facing a class action lawsuit in the United States for poor driver vetting that has led to a series of sexual harassment incidents, including rape.
Uber also announced two other policy changes pertaining to sexual assault.
And the ride-sharing company said it would start publishing a transparencyreport that will include "data on sexual assault and other incidents that occur on the Uber platform".
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. The company is working with experts to develop categories for reported incidents, which West wrote in a blog post would "take some time". "We know that a project of this magnitude will take some time, but we pledge to keep you updated along the way".
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