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

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An April 2018 CNN search of police and court records in 20 major U.S. cities found that 103 Uber drivers had been accused of sexual assault over the previous four years; 31 drivers had been convicted and dozens of others faced criminal and civil cases at the time.

The rideshare company said Tuesday it will no longer force into arbitration passengers who allege that they have been sexually assaulted or harassed by drivers - something Uber says was previously required under its terms of service.

Instead, the ride-sharing company will allow victims - including passengers, drivers and employees - to choose the venue in which they want to resolve such claims.

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The ride-hailing company is also rolling back the requirement that victims must sign a confidentiality provision preventing them from speaking about the sexual assault or sexual harassment they suffered on the platform.

The changes governing sexual misconduct come a month after Uber announced it will do criminal background checks on its USA drivers annually and add a 911 button for summoning help in emergencies.

"It's only by accounting and acknowledging [reports] that we are empowered to take action in reducing the incidents of sexual assault", said West. In March 2018, Uber came under fire after court records showed it had tried to push the women in that case toward individual arbitration. To do so, it will develop a common taxonomy for how to classify sexual harassment and assault reports, which it plans to also make available to other companies. The report left open the possibility that countless more incidents existed, as sexual assault cases often go unreported. Uber is mandated to respond by Wednesday.

Uber, which has faced a number of claims involving sexual assault or misconduct, said in a statement it "will no longer require mandatory arbitration for individual claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment by Uber riders, drivers or employees". Our hope is that Uber ending forced arbitration for victims of sexual assault will begin a process to reduce future suffering by women passengers. "What's most important is for individual survivors to be able to tell their individual stories".

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