Uber Ends Forced Sexual Assault Arbitration Weeks After CNN Investigation

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Uber to end forced arbitration for victims of sexual assault, harassment

Instead, Uber will allow victims of sexual violence, including riders, drivers and employees, to choose the venue in which they want to pursue redress of their sexual harassment or assault claims, whether that's arbitration, mediation or open court. "Our commitment to you is that when we say we stand for safety, we mean it".

There's now no way to "reliably or accurately" compare Uber's safety to other forms of transportation, Chief Legal Officer Tony West said in the blog post announcing the move, and sexual assault is a "vastly underreported crime".

This sudden change to Uber's terms of service comes just two weeks after an investigation revealed that over the past four years, 103 Uber drivers in the United States alone have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Additionally, it will publish a "safety transparency report" that will put numbers behind sexual assaults and other incidents that occur on its platform.

"The last 18 months have exposed a silent epidemic of sexual assault and harassment that haunts every industry and every community", the company said in a statement. "Uber is not immune to this deeply rooted problem, and we believe that it is up to us to be a big part of the solution".

The San Francisco company is also scrapping a policy requiring all settlements of sexual misconduct to be kept confidential, giving victims the choice of whether they want to make their allegations public. These agreements can help companies avoid costly, protracted legal disputes but they also tend to protect bad behavior.

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Since taking over from Kalanick, new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has tried to right the ship.

Arbitration clauses and nondisclosure agreements have always been business-as-usual in corporate America, but sentiment has begun to shift.

"We have learned it's important to give sexual assault and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims", he said. In March 2018, Uber came under fire after court records showed it had tried to push the women in that case toward individual arbitration.

Law firm Wigdor LLC proposed a class-action lawsuit in November on behalf of nine women who made accusations against Uber drivers.

Now, Uber says employees, riders, and drivers can take those claims to open court or choose to join a class-action lawsuit.

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