Lyft follows Uber's shift on sexual misconduct

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

The company's move on arbitration came as Khosrowshahi came under increasing pressure from the likes of Connecticut's Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who wrote the CEO a letter in he "respectfully requested" Uber end the practice. Uber also did away with a clause requiring people who settle such claims with Uber to sign a nondisclosure agreement that would forbid them from speaking about their experience.

The changes governing sexual misconduct come a month after Uber announced it will do criminal background checks on its USA drivers annually and add a 911 button for summoning help in emergencies.

Uber's announcement comes two weeks after CNN reported that 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in the last four years. So moving forward, survivors will be free to choose to resolve their individual claims in the venue they prefer: in a mediation where they can choose confidentiality; in arbitration, where they can choose to maintain their privacy while pursuing their case; or in open court.

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

It was even part of the company's Terms of Use agreement. As with the arbitration change, this will apply to cases now pending and cases moving forward. "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".

CNN did not include most of these complaints in its tally of cases because they could not all be verified with incident reports.

In November 2017, two women in California filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Uber's "woefully inadequate background checks" had created a platform that exposed thousands of female passengers to "rape, sexual assault, physical violence, and gender-motivated harassment". "They understand how their reputation will suffer if consumers perceive them as using arbitration to hide bad behavior".

Finally, West said the company would "commit" to publishing a "safety transparency report", as a way to "turn the lights on" against this scourge.

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.


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