Uber will allow individuals to publicly file sex crimes claims

Uber says it will no longer quietly settle sexual misconduct claims

Uber says it will no longer quietly settle sexual misconduct claims

Uber will no longer make its drivers, customers and employees go through forced arbitration when they lodge sexual assault or harassment claims against the ride-hailing service, the company announced Tuesday.

Uber chief legal officer Tony West said in the statement that while arbitration "includes many benefits for individuals and companies alike" the company understands the need for other alternatives. Going forward, Uber says it will now let victims, including passengers as well as drivers and employees, choose the venue in which to pursue their grievance, including the courts.

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the move was "an important step forward in our commitment to safety and transparency".

The San Francisco company is also scrapping a policy requiring all settlements of sexual misconduct to be kept confidential. Second, the company has also pledged to "eventually" release a report with data on sexual harassment and assault incidents that have occurred on its services.

Victims of sexual assault or harassment will now have the option to settle claims with the ride-hailing service without a confidentiality provision that prevents them from speaking about the incident, the company said.

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The company has also stated that the policy applies only to cases involving sexual assault and harassment; other cases, such as racial and gender discrimination complaints, will still be resolved through private administration.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN. As with the arbitration change, this will apply to cases now pending and cases moving forward.

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 LLC on behalf of nine women accusing drivers of sexual assault.

CNN did not include most of these complaints in its tally of cases because they could not all be verified with incident reports. It didn't say how often it would publish that report. "We want to bring these numbers out in the open". The company gained a reputation for rampant sexism past year after Susan Fowler, a former engineer, wrote a viral blog post about harassment and retaliation she said she faced on the job. "They understand how their reputation will suffer if consumers perceive them as using arbitration to hide bad behavior".

"As bold and far reaching as this announcement and decision is, and as unique as it is, it won't give everything to everybody", West said, noting that the arbitration change around harassment and assault don't apply in class action suits.

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