Uber to end forced arbitration for victims of sexual assault, harassment

Andrew Cummings
May 15, 2018

Under mounting pressure, Uber will announce Tuesday that it will no longer forbid passengers, drivers and employees from speaking publicly about sexual harassment or assault complaints they bring against the ride-hailing giant.

Uber also will no longer require confidentiality as part of settlement agreements in sexual harassment or assault claims.

As the #MeToo movement ousted powerful men across industries, Microsoft announced in December that it would allow employees to sue the company for sexual harassment, rather than handle the matter behind closed doors, and it encouraged other companies to do the same. Survivors of sexual misconduct can also settle claims with Uber without having to sign a confidentiality agreement. As with the arbitration change, this will apply to cases now pending and cases moving forward. And the firm said it will begin publishing a "safety transparency report" on sexual assaults and other incidents that occur on its platform.

"D$3 ivulging the details of what happened in a sexual assault or harassment should be up to the survivor, not us", West said.

While no specific timeline has been given for the report's release, an Uber spokesperson told Axios that the company's Chief Legal Officer Tony West hopes to publish the report by the end of the year.

Uber has to formally decide by Wednesday whether it will require the women in the proposed class action suit to carry out their assault claims in forced arbitration.

Uber's arbitration policy had previously been challenged in lawsuits, according to CNN.

Last month, Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer who authored a 2017 viral blog post about sexual harassment she endured while working there, penned an op-ed for the New York Times on how to terminate such behavior. She joined California lawmakers in April to introduce a state bill that would ban forced arbitration.

Last August, Khosrowshahi was hired 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. The company's revised policies, in addition to not being applied retroactively, also don't apply to class-action claims.

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