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Uber will no longer force victims of sexual assault into arbitration

15 May, 2018, 22:31 | Author: Tara Roberts
  • Uber ends forced arbitration agreements of sexual assault claims

Uber will no longer force passengers who accuse drivers of sexual assault or harassment into arbitration, a company official told CNN.

The raid-hailing company's terms of service previously required any legal claims be resolved in an arbitration hearing, rather than open court, according to The New York Times. Later that month, Microsoft said it was ending forced arbitration agreements for employees making sexual harassment claims, and expressed support for the bipartisan bill.

Uber is not the first major tech company to announce this change: Microsoft announced a similar move in December 2017.

Uber says it's putting safety at the core of everything it does.

Forced arbitration is common to many industries and allows companies to keep sexual misconduct claims out of the court system and away from public view, the Times said.

Uber's ride-hailing service will give its US passengers and drivers more leeway to pursue claims of sexual misconduct, its latest attempt to shed its reputation for brushing aside bad behavior.

Taliban in Afghanistan enter Farah city bordering Iran
He accused the government and military leadership of "turning a blind eye" until the insurgents actually entered the city. Afghan security forces keep watch during blasts and gunbattle at the site in Jalalabad city, Afghanistan May 13, 2018.

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

Now, riders can take sexual harassment or assault claims to the venue of their choosing, according to CNN. These agreements can help companies avoid costly, protracted legal disputes but they also tend to protect bad behavior.

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

Not to be outdone, Lyft announced Tuesday it would also scrap its rules binding passengers and drivers to private arbitration and confidential settlements in cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct. As with the arbitration change, this will apply to cases now pending and cases moving forward.

The news came one day ahead of a court-mandated deadline for Uber to respond in a proposed class action lawsuit filed by law firm Wigdor LLP on behalf of nine women accusing drivers of sexual assault. The company's revised policies, in addition to not being applied retroactively, also don't apply to class-action claims. "What's most important is for individual survivors to be able to tell their individual stories".

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