Uber Changes Policy To Combat Sexual Misconduct

May 15, 2018, 22:21
Uber Changes Policy To Combat Sexual Misconduct

Uber's policy shift, announced on Tuesday, will allow riders and drivers to file allegations of rape, sexual assault and harassment in courts and mediation, rather than being locked into an arbitration hearing. This sudden change to Uber's terms of service comes just two weeks after an investigation revealed that over the past four years, 103 Uber drivers in the United States alone have been accused of sexual misconduct. That means that the group of aforementioned women will have to resort to individual claims if they intend to sue Uber in open court.

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

FBN's Gerri Willis on Uber safety concerns after one of the company's self-driving cars hit and killed a pedestrian. "So we're making it clear that Uber will not require confidentiality provisions or non-disclosure agreements to prevent survivors from talking about the facts of what happened to them".

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Uber will also publish a a safety transparency report that will include data on sexual assaults and other incidents that occur through its platform.

Last August, Khosrowshahi was hired amid a wave of revelations and allegations about rampant sexual harassment in Uber's workforce, a cover-up of a massive data breach, dirty tricks and stolen trade secrets.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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In a statement, the ride-hailing company said the last 18 months exposed a "silent epidemic of sexual assault and harassment" that Uber "is not immune to". In March 2018, Uber came under fire after court records showed it had tried to push the women in that case toward individual arbitration. That would include rides and deliveries, as well as incidents that happen before pickup or after drop-off.

"We think the numbers are going to be disturbing", said Tony West, a former government prosecutor during the Obama administration who became Uber's chief legal officer after Khosrowshahi took over. "Enabling survivors to make this choice will help to end the culture of silence that surrounds sexual violence". "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". Not long after he took the job late a year ago, he wrote his own blog post in which he proclaimed: "We do the right thing". "They understand how their reputation will suffer if consumers perceive them as using arbitration to hide bad behavior". "What's most important is for individual survivors to be able to tell their individual stories".

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