Uber changes how sexual misconduct is reported

Posted May 16, 2018

The ride-hailing companies announced Tuesday they would eliminate the requirement of arbitration clauses for any employee, driver or rider who claims they have experienced sexual harassment or assault.

Shortly after Uber announced the end of its forced arbitration policy for individual claims of sexual assault or harassment by Uber drivers, riders or employees, Lyft has done the same, Recode first reported. One victim was assaulted by a serial rapist who attacked his traveler and 8 other women; another was a senior female who was beaten and raped; one victim states her motorist required her to consume his urine. They will still be free to opt for arbitration or mediation if they prefer to resolve the matter privately. The case has since expanded, with nine women making up a class-action lawsuit, she said.

The new rules mark another conciliatory move made by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (kahs-row-SHAH'-hee). "This is an issue that is much much much bigger than Uber". Tuesday's announcement also lines up rather conspicuously with an advertising campaign Uber launched this week, in which it promises to be "moving forward".

Uber is giving its passengers and drivers a new way to report sexual misconduct.

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As they are but one of many companies that have "tiny print" clauses in their agreements that require arbitration in the event of a dispute, Uber understands that nearly no consumers read these until they need to, and companies do this intentionally to avoid cost and time-consuming litigation. Uber board member Arianna Huffington told Bloomberg TV this month that Uber board was weighing how to respond.

"Amid all the questions about where #MeToo goes next, there's at least one answer that everyone should support", Susan Fowler, who laid bare the sexist environment at Uber, wrote in a New York Times op-ed last month. If this approach survives court challenges, it could limit the potential payout for lawyers and damages that Uber could face. "Leaving it up to individual companies is not likely to change the industry".

"Congratulations to Uber for choosing not to silence survivors, " said Jeanne Christensen, a partner at Wigdor. She said this is the "beginning of a longer process needed to meaningfully improve safety". The policy change will affect riders, drivers and employees, the company says.

The business will not need privacy as part of settlement arrangements in claims referring to sexual assault or harassment. Uber expects to publish both total figures and the number of incidents as a percentage of total trips.

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" I will inform you that, when this information is really released as part of the security openness report, I believe those numbers are going to be disturbing", stated West.

Uber likewise revealed 2 other policy changes relating to sexual assault.

The data might not be released until early next year.

West informed the reporter he anticipates the variety of reports to increase when Uber launches information on sexual assaults and other events. "It is hard even to get companies to say the words sexual assault or rape, let alone incorporate them into the culture and the priorities of the company". "Together we can enact massive positive change and do what's best for passengers & drivers".

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