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Uber ending forced arbitration policy for sexual assault claims

15 May 2018

In addition, survivors will have the option to settle their claims with Uber without a confidentiality provision that prevents them from speaking about the facts of the sexual assault or sexual harassment they suffered. He was hired last August amid a wave of revelations and allegations about rampant sexual harassment in Uber's workforce, a cover-up of a massive data breach, dirty tricks and stolen trade secrets.

Jeanne Christensen, a Wigdor partner, congratulated Uber for shedding the arbitration policy, a move she said "will begin a process to reduce future suffering by women passengers". The lack of transparency about the number of incidents perpetrated by drivers has been a sticking point by victims in lawsuits, which claim Uber tries to hide the true scope of the issue from its customers.

Uber announced a host of changes to its policies in the wake of a CNN investigation into sexual assault claims against its drivers.

Last month, CNN found 103 accusations of assault or abuse against Uber drivers by combing through court records and police reports, in the absence of official company data.

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It may also spur more complaints.

"We think the numbers are going to be disturbing", said Tony West, a former government prosecutor during the Obama administration who became Uber's chief legal officer after Khosrowshahi took over.

"We're working with experts in the field to develop a taxonomy to categorize the incidents that are reported to us", he concluded. "Enabling survivors to make this choice will help to end the culture of silence that surrounds sexual violence".

Prior to the announcement, Uber's terms of service required all allegations of this nature against drivers to be arbitrated outside of court.

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Uber is due to respond in court by Wednesday about whether it will require the women in the proposed class action suit to carry out their assault claims in arbitration.

And the company gained a reputation for sexism a year ago after a viral blog post from a former engineer, according to The Washington Post.

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. That means victims who wish to file lawsuits about harassment will still have to do so individually, and will still not be able to bring a case on behalf of many plaintiffs.

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Uber ending forced arbitration policy for sexual assault claims