Uber ends forced arbitration agreements of sexual assault claims

"We have learned it's important to give sexual assault and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims", he said.

The company is ending the controversial practice of forced arbitration for all of its employees, riders, and drivers, reports CNBC.

CNN reported in April that at least 103 Uber drivers in the US have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in the last four years. The drivers were arrested, are wanted by police, or have been named in civil suits related to the incidents. But for critics of the company, it's long overdue.

"You want people to report lower-level infractions so you can nip them in the bud before they become bigger problems", she said.

Despite repeated requests, the company has yet to agree to an on-camera interview with CNN.

The policy change comes after a recent CNN investigation focusing on the assaut and abuse accusations against drivers.

Anyone using the Uber smartphone app to hail a ride was required to enter into confidential arbitration, even in the event of serious crimes, such as rape, committed by a driver. As with the arbitration change, this will apply to cases now pending and cases moving forward.

It's only by accounting and acknowledging [reports] that we are empowered to take action in reducing the incidents of sexual assault. "We hope to open-source this methodology so we can encourage others in the ridesharing, transportation and travel industries, both private and public, to join us in taking this step".

Popular ride-hailing service Uber will give its USA passengers and drivers more leeway to pursue claims of sexual misconduct in its latest attempt to shed its reputation for brushing aside bad behavior. CNN's analysis came from an in-depth review of police reports, federal court records and county court databases for 20 major USA cities.

And while the move serves to promote safety and aid the company's reputation, it could also lead to more complaints. That would include rides and deliveries, as well as incidents that happen before pickup or after drop-off. "Enabling survivors to make this choice will help to end the culture of silence that surrounds sexual violence". The company's revised policies, in addition to not being applied retroactively, also don't apply to class-action claims.

Beyond Uber, there's been a push to cut back on the use of forced arbitration by employers.

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.

In April, California state leaders introduced a bill that would bar companies from requiring workers to settle complaints in arbitration.

In December, Microsoft announced it was eliminating forced arbitration agreements with employees who made sexual assault or harassment claims. 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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