In response to the widespread #MeToo movement, Uber announced on Tuesday the company will change its policies for employees, drivers and passengers who claim they experienced sexual harassment or assault. West and Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi took over late past year and have attempted to turn the company around.
In a fiercely competitive market, Uber's announcement has already triggered a bandwagon effect-hours later, Lyft also chose to scrap its forced arbitration and confidentiality agreements for assault victims."Today, 48 hours prior to an impending lawsuit against their company, Uber made the good decision to adjust their policies", Lyft said, not exactly taking the high road.
Arbitration clauses have played a role in high-profile settlements involving film mogul Harvey Weinstein and others, enabling accusations and settlements to be made in secret.
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Uber is giving its passengers and drivers a new way to report sexual misconduct.
In a blog post, Uber announced that it will let sexual assault, rape, and harassment victims pursue their claims as they see fit, rather than forcing them into mandatory, private arbitration, which was previously required by Uber's terms of service.
Uber likewise revealed 2 other policy changes relating to sexual assault. "Whether to find closure, seek treatment, or become advocates for change themselves, survivors will be in control of whether to share their stories". By the end of the year, Uber will also start to publicly report incidents of alleged sexual misconduct in hopes of establishing more transparency about the issue throughout the ride-hailing and traditional taxi industries. Gilman also points out that that Uber chief legal officer Tony West has credentials from the Justice Department to add weight to the policy.
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The news comes after a CNN investigation found more than 100 Uber drivers in the US have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years. The company said on Tuesday it will release data on the number of sexual assaults on its service.
Formerly, upon registering for Uber's service, Uber states users accepted solve any claims on a specific basis through arbitration. He joined Uber as the company was going under a public and top of the food chain transformation. Uber is shifting its stance after receiving an open letter from the NY law firm Wigdor LLP, which already has filed a lawsuit seeking to be certified as a class action representing women who allege they have been raped, sexually harassed or abused in other ways by Uber drivers.
But as the company announced its reforms to adjudicating its claims process, New York-based attorney Jeanne Christensen, of the law firm Wigdor LLP, said she was unimpressed. Dara Khosrowshahi has been taking steps to address the company's issues.
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