gpolit.com
gpolit.com May 20, 2018


Uber Will No Longer Force Sexual Assault Survivors Into Arbitration Or NDAs

16 May 2018, 12:38 | Kenneth Drake

Uber is changing how it handles assault claims. Robyn Beck AFP Getty Images

US-AVIATION-SCIENCE-TRANSPORTATION

Both ride-sharing companies will allow riders, drivers, and passengers with claims of sexual assault to pursue their cases in open court. New CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said he is committed to changing the company's culture to have a new emphasis on accountability and earning trust.

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.

Previously, passengers agreed to arbitration when they signed up for Uber, as part of its terms of service.

Uber's sexist policies within their company, as well as their bad habit of hiring drivers that have a tendency to sexually assault their customers have always been public knowledge.

Uber, like many companies, has a clause in its user agreement - and its employment contract - that requires a person to waive his or her constitutional right to take Uber to court.

Uber likewise revealed 2 other policy changes relating to sexual assault. By the end of the year, Uber will also start to publicly report incidents of alleged sexual misconduct in hopes of establishing more transparency about the issue throughout the ride-hailing and traditional taxi industries. This move comes two weeks after CNN published a report that found at least 103 Uber drivers in the US have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the last four years.

" We believe it is extremely, crucial to enable survivors of sexual assault and unwanted sexual advances the control and company that was, honestly, removed from them because event", Uber's primary legal officer, Tony West, informed the reporter in a phone interview.

An Uber investigation at the time resulted in the firing of about 20 people, and former Attorney General Eric Holder said the male-dominated company didn't have basic policies to protect against harassment.

Lyft, a rival auto service, had similar terms of service requiring passengers to use arbitration. And in the midst of the #MeToo movement, advocates have singled out these stipulations as tools used to stifle women's stories of sexual harassment and assault. He joined Uber as the company was going under a public and top of the food chain transformation.

The Uber news was announced a day ahead of a court-mandated deadline for the company to respond to a proposed class action lawsuit filed by law firm Wigdor LLP on behalf of nine women accusing drivers of sexual assault. Last month, Khosrowshahi said Uber would more closely monitor driver backgrounds.

Jeanne Christensen, the Wigdor lawyer working on the class-action suit, told Reuters the move was "one step toward making a change", but that "just bringing the issue into the open doesn't solve the problem".



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