Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Uber ends arbitration requirement for sex misconduct claims

US-AVIATION-SCIENCE-TRANSPORTATION Uber is changing how it handles assault claims. Robyn Beck AFP Getty Images
Lora Ball | 16 May, 2018, 06:23

The ride-share company has announced that it will no longer force alleged victims of harassment and sexual assault-including its passengers, drivers and corporate employees-into private arbitration.

Riders will be allowed to file allegations of rape and harassment directly in court, rather than being locked into an arbitration hearing.

Victims were previously required to enter into confidentiality agreements as part of arbitration to settle claims, which prevented them from speaking publicly about the facts surrounding any sexual assault or harassment.

"Last month, Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer who authored a 2017 viral blog post about sexual harassment endured while working there, said: "We need to end the practice of forced arbitration", she wrote on April 12", legal loopholes companies use to cover up their illegal treatment of employees".

As part of its investigation, CNN also contacted more than 20 police departments to obtain data on complaints that involved Uber and Lyft drivers and sexual assault.

This announcement comes a couple of weeks after an investigation found that more than 100 stateside Uber drivers had been accused of sexually assaulting or harassing passengers in the last four years. Uber argued that the women will have to bring other claims in the suit, including unfair business practices, to an arbitrator.

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"It takes an incident like sexual assault to expose the one-sided nature of these compulsory arbitration clauses", says Gilman. West included, "I wish to thank (the reporter) for the reporting that you have actually done on this problem". "We think they're going to be disturbing because it is never easy to report sexual assault".

While applauding Uber for making a "good decision", Lyft also made a veiled reference to the legal pressures that may have contributed to the change. The company said on Tuesday it will release data on the number of sexual assaults on its service. "This policy extends to passengers, drivers and Lyft employees", said Lyft spokesperson Alexandra LaManna in a statement on Tuesday.

A minimum of 31 motorists have actually been founded guilty for criminal offenses varying from forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment to rape, and lots of criminal and civil cases are pending, the reporter discovered. However, it has since confirmed that it will not only publish a report, but work together with Uber on that report.

West informed the reporter he anticipates the variety of reports to increase when Uber launches information on sexual assaults and other events.

Uber, which has formally responded in court, said the women will now have the choice of bringing their individual assault claims to arbitration, meditation or open court.

Uber says it has met with more than 80 women's groups and recruited several prominent advocates as advisers on these issues.

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