Lyft Follows Uber in Ending Forced Arbitration For Sexual Harassment Claims

Lyft Follows Uber in Ending Forced Arbitration For Sexual Harassment Claims

In response to the widespread #MeToo movement, Uber announced on Tuesday the company will change its policies for employees, drivers and passengers who claim they experienced sexual harassment or assault.

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the move was "an important step forward in our commitment to safety and transparency".

Uber announced May 15 that it's dropping its contractual insistence on arbitration for allegations of sexual misconduct.

Arbitration clauses have played a role in high-profile settlements involving film mogul Harvey Weinstein and others, enabling accusations and settlements to be made in secret.

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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.

There is no openly offered information for the variety of sexual assaults by Uber chauffeurs or motorists of other rideshare business. the reporter's analysis originated from a thorough evaluation of authorities reports, federal court records and county court databases for 20 significant United States cities. After Gothamist reached out to ask about the policy, a spokeswoman said that they "agree with the changes" Uber made and will do the same. "Whether to find closure, seek treatment, or become advocates for change themselves, survivors will be in control of whether to share their stories". The company said it also plans to release data on sexual violence and other incidents that occur on its platform. In April, a CNN investigation identified more than 100 Uber drivers accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in the past four years. However, an Uber spokesman added that arbitration isn't necessarily bad. Uber's chief legal officer, Tony West, released a statement on the company's website explaining the changes, and Lyft later followed suit announcing the same changes. Riders, passengers, and employees in the US will now have the option of taking the company to court, or going through a mediator where confidentiality is optional. Uber is shifting its stance after receiving an open letter from the NY law firm Wigdor LLP, which already has filed a lawsuit seeking to be certified as a class action representing women who allege they have been raped, sexually harassed or abused in other ways by Uber drivers. She said this is the "beginning of a longer process needed to meaningfully improve safety". Last month, Khosrowshahi said Uber would more closely monitor driver backgrounds.

Back in February 2017, a former Uber engineer penned a personal essay about the sexual harassment she faced at the company.

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