Uber to bring transparency and allow users to pursue sexual assault claims

Uber Dara Khosrowshahi

In fact, Uber's new policy might not help her clients: The changes apply only to individuals. The news organization culled its data from police reports and court records; there is no current, publicly-available data that gives the number of sexual assaults for any ride share company. They are getting rid of that policy for customers and employees alike.

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.

The news comes after a CNN investigation found more than 100 Uber drivers in the US have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years. Those who choose arbitration can opt to settle their claim without submitting to the confidentiality provision or to nondisclosure agreements, Uber's chief legal officer, Tony West, wrote in a blog post.

And last month, Fowler wrote an op-ed in The New York Times arguing that to fight sexual harassment, the USA needs to bring an end to forced arbitration of sexual harassment cases - across the board.

In a fiercely competitive market, Uber's announcement has already triggered a bandwagon effect-hours later, Lyft also chose to scrap its forced arbitration and confidentiality agreements for assault victims."Today, 48 hours prior to an impending lawsuit against their company, Uber made the good decision to adjust their policies", Lyft said, not exactly taking the high road. Not to be outdone, Lyft announced Tuesday it would also scrap its rules binding passengers and drivers to private arbitration and confidential settlements in civil cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct. 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. He joined Uber as the company was going under a public and top of the food chain transformation.

"Divulging the details of what happened in a sexual assault or harassment should be up to the survivor, not us", West said.

"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.

Indeed, Tuesday's change seems tied to a larger, concerted campaign by Dara Khosrowshahi to at least superficially reform the historically troubled company. (Were it not for its own sexual harassment issues and pressure from people like Fowler, whether Uber would have done away with the clause is anyone's guess.) But if Uber continues to reform, even if only on a surface level, it could effectively kick off an optics arms race, compelling other Silicon Valley companies to bow to social pressure by following suit.

But no more, says Uber.

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