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Uber will no longer force victims of sexual assault into private arbitration

16 May 2018, 12:43 | Melanie Burgess

Uber ends policy of forced arbitration for individual sexual assault claims Natasha Lomas @ 7 hours

Uber ends policy of forced arbitration for individual sexual assault claims		
		
	Natasha Lomas

       @	   
   	7 hours

They also pledge to work with women's groups and organizations that specialize in sexual violence to figure out how best to publicly release data about sexual assaults that are connected to Uber rides and make it open-source, so others can use it. West and Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi took over late a year ago and have attempted to turn the company around.

Uber states it is taking actions to assist lower the culture of silence around sexual violence on its platform in the wake of a the reporter examination into sexual assaults and abuse by Uber motorists.

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. As per Uber's terms of service that exists today, passengers relinquish their right to pursue any claims against Uber in open court when they sign up as a rider.

"Divulging the details of what happened in a sexual assault or harassment should be up to the survivor, not us", West said. "We think it is very, very important to allow survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment the control and agency that was, frankly, stripped from them in that incident", Uber's chief legal officer, Tony West, told CNN in a phone interview. "This policy extends to passengers, drivers and Lyft employees", said Lyft spokesperson Alexandra LaManna in a statement on Tuesday.

The decision comes only two weeks after CNN concluded its investigation and reported its results, which discovered that at least 103 Uber drivers in the US have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years. The changes are being announced amid concerns that Uber hasn't done enough to protect its riders. 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.

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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.

Christensen criticized Uber's rebooted policy for not applying to class-action cases.

"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.

Back in February 2017, a former Uber engineer penned a personal essay about the sexual harassment she faced at the company. Khosrowshahi replied that he would "take a look at your suggestion". (I deleted the app past year, after a driver found my phone number-through his trip history, I assumed-and repeatedly texted and called me.) Last month, Uber implemented a host of long-delayed safety features, such as an emergency-call button that connects a rider to a 911 operator and features real-time location data from the moving vehicle.



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