Uber changes policy on sexual-misconduct claims, allowing victims to pursue charges

Uber ends policy of forced arbitration for individual sexual assault claims		
		
	Natasha Lomas

       @	   
   	7 hours

Uber ends policy of forced arbitration for individual sexual assault claims Natasha Lomas @ 7 hours

If an Uber passenger complained about being sexually assaulted or harassed by a driver, the company previously had a policy that required a mandatory arbitration meeting before making a decision.

"Whatever they decide, they will be free to tell their story wherever and however they see fit", West wrote. The San Francisco based ride-hailing company confirms that it's ending the use of forced arbitration agreements for employees, riders, and drivers.

Formerly, upon registering for Uber's service, Uber states users accepted solve any claims on a specific basis through arbitration. This means anyone who alleges sexual misconduct at the hands of Lyft drivers, riders or employees won't have to argue their case behind closed doors.

In a fiercely competitive market, Uber's announcement has already triggered a bandwagon effect-hours later, Lyft also chose to scrap its forced arbitration and confidentiality agreements for assault victims."Today, 48 hours prior to an impending lawsuit against their company, Uber made the good decision to adjust their policies", Lyft said, not exactly taking the high road.

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Uber chief legal officer Tony West said in the statement that while arbitration "includes many benefits for individuals and companies alike" the company understands the need for other alternatives.

The news came one day ahead of a court-mandated due date for Uber to react in a proposed class action suit submitted by law practice Wigdor LLP on behalf of 9 females implicating motorists of sexual assault. However, it has since confirmed that it will not only publish a report, but work together with Uber on that report.

The court had given Uber until Wednesday to say whether it would require the women to submit their claims to arbitration.

The company's change in how it handles these matters reflects a deliberate corporate decision to contribute toward a more outspoken, open culture of speaking out against sexual abuse and end what has always been a culture of corporate silence around such matters across industries.

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A CNN investigation revealed at least 103 Uber drivers in the US were accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in the past four years.

Andy Gilman, president and CEO of CommCore Consulting Group, says that Uber is taking a step-by-step approach to improving its reputation, and that companies that have similar compulsory arbitration clauses have been put on notice.

Susan Fowler, the previous Uber engineer whose post drove Uber to deal with unwanted sexual advances within the business's business labor force, is combating on the office problem more broadly in California. While it's easy to pick on individual companies like Uber for having policies like this, the truth is that they're just doing what all companies do.

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