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Uber Ends Forced Arbitration In Individual Cases Of Sexual Assault, Harassment

16 May 2018

Those issues came on top of a host of scandals, including sexual harassment claims by employees and fights with regulators, which the company faced previous year, and which contributed to Uber's former chief executive, Travis Kalanick, being forced out.

Khosrowshahi, who introduced the mantra "we do the right thing, period" to his employees, has been leading the effort to change Uber's company culture after allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying.

In a blog post called "Turning the lights on", Uber chief legal officer Tony West discussed the company's decision.

The move comes less than three weeks after 14 women, who said they were sexually assaulted by their Uber drivers, penned an open letter to the company's board urging it to allow them to pursue justice in an open courtroom, rather than in arbitration.

Giving victims of sexual assault or perceived sexual harassment more options sends an important message that Uber is taking the issue more seriously, said Kristen Houser, a spokeswoman for Raliance, a coalition of groups working with Uber to prevent sexual abuse on its service. Lyft, an Uber competitor, has a similar terms of service that says users will agree resolve claims through arbitration.

Fourteen women are attempting to sue Uber over sexual assaults and harassment they faced from drivers. Uber was eventually hit with another class action legal complaint from two women who claim the company doesn't sufficiently protect riders from rape - something they both claim to be direct victims of. The company gained a reputation for rampant sexism previous year after Susan Fowler, a former engineer, wrote a viral blog post about harassment and retaliation she said she faced on the job.

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Jeanne Christensen, a lawyer representing at least 14 women suing Uber in the US over sexual assault allegations, congratulated the company for getting rid of required arbitration, which she said "will begin a process to reduce future suffering by women passengers".

The company's new rules allow victims to fight their cases in court but only one at a time. "The #metoo movement has brought to life important issues that must be addressed by society, and we're committed to doing our part".

The New York Times also noted that Uber is dropping a requirement that drivers and corporate staff opt out of arbitration agreements within the first 30 days of signing a contract.

With these principles in mind, earlier this year we began making significant improvements to our safety processes. The report will include data on sexual assaults and "other incidents" that occur on the platform.

"We're working with experts in the field to develop a taxonomy to categorize the incidents that are reported to us", he concluded. There's no public timetable yet for when Uber will release that report. "We think they're going to be disturbing because it is never easy to report sexual assault".

Uber Ends Forced Arbitration In Individual Cases Of Sexual Assault, Harassment