Uber will allow individuals to publicly file sex crimes claims

15 May, 2018, 22:22 | Author: Sam Montgomery
  • Tony West now Uber's chief legal officer back in 2014 when he worked in the Justice Department under Eric Holder

"We have learned it's important to give sexual assault and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims", he said.

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 CEO Dara Khosrowshahi agreed to end the company's practice of using only confidential arbitration to resolve issues.

It may also spur more complaints. Four police departments - Austin, Boston, Denver and Los Angeles - tracked crimes involving rideshare drivers and shared their data on sexual assault complaints. That would include rides and deliveries, as well as incidents that happen before pickup or after drop-off. However, the numbers suggest that there may be many more overall incidents of sexual assault than the 103 cases found in the investigation. There's no public timetable yet for when Uber will release that report.

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West said the company struggled with the decision to commit to a safety transparency report for its rides, because he knows that it will be "disturbing" when the actual number of assaults that happen on Uber is announced? in part because of the companys size and the ease with which customers can report an incident. However, there is a catch - the new policy only applies to individual claims, and not class action lawsuits. Even worse for consumers is that in the world of arbitration, there is no possibility of class-action claims. "Enabling survivors to make this choice will help to end the culture of silence that surrounds sexual violence".

The move comes after reports surfaced revealing at least 100 Uber drivers in the USA had been accused of sexually assaulting passengers in recent years, including one recent case in which a driver followed a female passenger after reaching her home and tried to force himself into her apartment.

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. The company gained a reputation for rampant sexism previous year after Susan Fowler, a former engineer, wrote a viral blog post about harassment and retaliation she said she faced on the job. She joined California lawmakers in April to introduce a state bill that would ban forced arbitration.

In December, Microsoft announced it was eliminating forced arbitration agreements with employees who made sexual assault or harassment claims.

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