Uber is taking measures to bring “transparency, reliability, and accountability” while handling sexual misbehavior in the workplace. The company announced on Tuesday that they have decided to waive forced arbitration for riders, drivers, or employees who want to file a legal grievance against the company over claims of sexual assault.
This means anyone who claims they have been assaulted and wants to sue Uber can pursue their case in open court and appeal for a trial by jury. The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company confirms that it’s ending the use of forced arbitration agreements for employees, riders, and drivers.
Last month, Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer who authored a 2017 viral blog post about sexual harassment she endured while working there, said: “We need to end the practice of forced arbitration,” she wrote on April 12,” legal loopholes companies use to cover up their illegal treatment of employees.” And now, her former employer is doing just that. Chief legal officer Tony West announced that Uber will no longer require its US riders, drivers, or employees to forcefully arbitrate individual claims of sexual assault or harassment.
A spokeswoman for Raliance stated that giving victims of sexual assault more options sends an important message that Uber is taking the issue more seriously. As per Uber’s terms of service that exist today, passengers relinquish their right to pursue any claims against Uber in open court when they sign up as a rider.
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Last year, co-founder Travis Kalanick was pushed out as CEO when Uber faced accusations, including a workplace culture of sexism and sexual harassment. Dara Khosrowshahi has been taking steps to address the company’s issues. “Maintaining the public’s trust, and earning back the respect of customers we’ve lost through our past actions and behavior is about more than new products and policies.” – Uber said.
Uber also plans to publish a safety transparency report, including data on sexual assaults and other incidents that happen on the stand. Uber has yet to bring out the details of exactly what this report will entail, including what time period it will cover, but it is supposed to include the number of sexual assault complaints the company has established.
The changes concerning misconduct have come a month after Uber announced that it will carry out criminal background checks on its U.S. drivers annually and add a 911 button for summoning assistance in case of emergencies, an effort to keep people from using its service to prey on possible victims.