Uber Will No Longer Require Sexual Assault Claims to Go to Arbitration
Uber will no longer require arbitration when there are claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
The company announced Tuesday that it was eliminating a clause from its terms of service that forced users to settle any legal claims with the company in an arbitration hearing. Customers will now be able to pursue their complaints of sexual assault or harassment in mediation, arbitration or open court.
“We have learned it’s important to give sexual assault and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims,” Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, wrote in a blog post. “So moving forward, survivors will be free to choose to resolve their individual claims in the venue they prefer.”
The decision comes two weeks after CNN published a report detailing the extent of sexual harassment claims against Uber drivers. According to the report, at least 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexual assault over the past four years.
The change in policy will affect all ongoing and future sexual assault cases. Arbitration will still remain mandatory for other legal claims, like discrimination, according to The New York Times.
As part of its new initiative, Uber will also begin publishing a “safety transparency report,” detailing the frequency of sexual harassment, assault and other incidents reported from use of the app.
Last month, 14 female sexual assault victims sent an open letter to Uber’s board, detailing the company’s problems with sexual assault. “Silencing our stories deprives customers and potential investors from the knowledge that our horrific experiences are part of a widespread problem at Uber,” they wrote in the letter.
This week, Uber launched a new advertising campaign, featuring CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. In the ads, Khosrowshahi delivers a message that the company is “moving forward” and promises greater transparency.
Hours after Uber’s announcement, Lyft also scrapped its mandatory arbitration clause.