Electronics

Uber ending forced arbitration policy for sexual assault claims

Uber ending forced arbitration policy for sexual assault claims

Uber said Tuesday it would end a policy requiring arbitration over claims of sexual misconduct involving employees, riders and drivers, allowing cases to be heard in public and pursued in court.

Following CNN's investigation 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 requested" the company end the practice.

Uber says it has learned that it's important to give sexual assault and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims.

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

The legal overhaul puts Uber, which a year ago was regarded as one of the most toxic workplaces in Silicon Valley, at the forefront of a movement to change how sexual harassment is handled in corporate America.

Uber chief legal officer Tony West said in the statement that while arbitration "includes many benefits for individuals and companies alike" the company understands the need for other alternatives. The company is also adding a 911 button so riders can call for help in emergencies.

Amazon is expanding its Go convenience store to two more locations
Amazon , which opened a cashierless store in Seattle this year, plans more locations in Chicago and San Francisco . In response, Amazon's vice president said this move "forces us to question our growth here".

Last August, Dara Khosrowshahi took over for Kalanick and immediately began taking steps to point the company's "moral compass" in the right direction.

Additionally, if someone is unfortunately subjected to sexual harassment or assault, no matter how they seek to adjudicate that claim (whether arbitration, mediation, or traditional litigation in a public court) Uber won't force them to agree to stay quiet about their experience.

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

The ride-hailing company is also rolling back the requirement that victims must sign a confidentiality provision preventing them from speaking about the sexual assault or sexual harassment they suffered on the platform. As with the arbitration change, this will apply to cases now pending and cases moving forward.

There is no publicly available data for the number of sexual assaults by Uber drivers or drivers of other rideshare companies. The company's revised policies, in addition to not being applied retroactively, also don't apply to class-action claims.


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