Uber and Lyft end mandatory arbitration for sexual assault claims

Emmett Rice
May 16, 2018

The move - which has been hinted at earlier this year by Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi - means that riders will now be able to pursue allegations of sexual assault, harassment or other misconduct in court or in mediation.

The rehabilitation of Uber moved a step further Tuesday with the company's announcement that its ride-hailing contract would no longer bar riders from pursuing allegations of sexual assault or other misconduct in court.

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.

The rideshare business stated Tuesday it will not push into arbitration travelers who declare that they have actually been sexually attacked or bugged by motorists- something Uber states was formerly needed under its regards to service.

Uber, like many companies, has a clause in its user agreement - and its employment contract - that requires a person to waive his or her constitutional right to take Uber to court.

But divulging the details of what happened in a sexual assault or harassment should be up to the survivor, not us.

An Uber investigation at the time resulted in the firing of about 20 people, and former Attorney General Eric Holder said the male-dominated company didn't have basic policies to protect against harassment.

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"The #metoo movement has brought to life important issues that must be addressed by society, and we're committed to doing our part", a Lyft spokeswoman said in a statement.

Assault victims will also have the option to forgo a non-disclosure agreement as part of a settlement. However, it has since confirmed that it will not only publish a report, but work together with Uber on that report.

There is no publicly available data for the number of sexual assaults by Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare companies.

At least 31 drivers have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape, and dozens of criminal and civil cases are pending, CNN found.

While applauding Uber for making a "good decision", Lyft also made a veiled reference to the legal pressures that may have contributed to the change. Nevertheless, the numbers recommend that there might be a lot more total occurrences of sexual assault than the 103 cases discovered in the examination.

"When it comes to categorizing this data for public release, no uniform industry standard for reporting exists today", West wrote.

Uber, which has formally responded in court, said the women will now have the choice of bringing their individual assault claims to arbitration, meditation or open court. In his blog post, West said the company met with more than 80 women's groups to develop appropriate data-collection strategies.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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