Uber and Lyft end mandatory arbitration for sexual assault claims

16 May, 2018, 12:45 | Author: Gladys Mathis
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made company culture a priority

This means individual riders or drivers in the US can choose to pursue allegations of sexual assault or harassment in open courts, and not just in closed arbitration hearings.

The new rules mark another conciliatory move made by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (kahs-row-SHAH'-hee).

Uber and Lyft have ended forced arbitration for sexual assault cases brought by passengers, drivers and employees.

Arbitration clauses have played a role in high-profile settlements involving film mogul Harvey Weinstein and others, enabling accusations and settlements to be made in secret.

Customers previously waived many of their rights when signing up for the services.

Fourteen women are attempting to sue Uber over sexual assaults and harassment they faced from drivers. "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. Whether to find closure, seek treatment, or become advocates for change themselves, survivors will be in control of whether to share their stories".

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Uber also plans to publish a safety transparency report, including data on sexual assaults and other incidents that happen on the stand. Uber has yet to bring out the details of exactly what this report will entail including what time period it will cover, but it is supposed to include the number of sexual assault complaints the company has established. 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. In April, a CNN investigation identified more than 100 Uber drivers accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in the past four years.

Rival ride-hail service Lyft also saw the light today, following Uber's announcement with one of its own-and taking a shot at its rival in the process.

A spokeswoman for Uber told NPR that the company has been considering a change to its arbitration policy for several months. He joined Uber as the company was going under a public and top of the food chain transformation. Those alleging assault who wish to be part of a class action suit are still bound by the arbitration clause.

"It starts with improving our product and policies, but it requires so much more, and we're in it for the long haul", West concluded in the post.

Following the reporter's examination 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 asked for" the business end the practice.

But no more, says Uber.

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