Uber Shifts How it Handles Sex Assault Cases

Uber Shifts How it Handles Sex Assault Cases

Uber's ride-hailing service will give its US passengers and drivers more leeway to pursue claims of sexual misconduct, its latest attempt to shed its reputation for brushing aside bad behaviour.

Previously, if you wanted to use Uber's app that meant you automatically agreed to terms and conditions and agreed to resolve any legal claims in an arbitration hearing. The company announced on Tuesday that they have chose to waive forced arbitration for riders, drivers or employees who want to file a legal grievance against the company over claims of sexual assault. Uber now says their focus is on "transparency, integrity, and accountability" and in doing so now gives passengers and drivers more options and freedoms to pursue claims of sexual misconduct.

The news came just hours after Uber announced the same change in the wake of a recent CNN investigation into the sexual assaults and abuse by drivers.

Jeanne Christensen, a lawyer representing at least 14 women suing Uber in the US over sexual assault allegations, congratulated the company for getting rid of required arbitration, which she said "will begin a process to reduce future suffering by women passengers".

The change comes as former Uber software engineer Susan Fowler has advocated for legislation to prohibit employees from forcing both current or potential employees into arbitration.

The announcement was made in a press release on the ride-hailing company's website by Chief Legal Officer Tony West.

Former Aston Villa footballer dies in auto crash
Villa said their players will wear black armbands for Tuesday's Championship play-off second leg against Middlesbrough . Cheshire Police said they were called to a serious accident involving a van and Samuel's Range Rover at around 8am.

And in February, Uber said it would report crimes directly to police in the UK.

"It's only by accounting and acknowledging [reports] that we are empowered to take action in reducing the incidents of sexual assault", said West. "We think they're going to be disturbing because it is never easy to report sexual assault". An expert the Journal interviewed in its report said arbitration can also make it harder for victims to find attorneys because they generally make less in such cases.

In the meantime, the fate of many of those women's assault cases is far from clear.

The news came one day ahead of a court-mandated deadline for Uber to respond in a proposed class action lawsuit filed by law firm Wigdor LLP on behalf of nine women accusing drivers of sexual assault.

The women will now be free to pursue their assault charges in court, but only on an individual level.

"We agree with the changes [Uber made] and have removed the confidentiality requirement for sexual assault victims, as well as ended mandatory arbitration for those individuals so that they can choose which venue is best for them". She joined California lawmakers in April to introduce a state bill that would ban forced arbitration. The company gained a reputation for rampant sexism a year ago after Susan Fowler, a former engineer, wrote a viral blog post about harassment and retaliation she said she faced on the job. "What's most important is for individual survivors to be able to tell their individual stories".

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