Uber's ride-hailing service will give its US passengers and drivers more leeway to pursue claims of sexual misconduct, its latest attempt to reverse its reputation for brushing aside bad behavior.
The shift announced 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.
The company also will not force survivors of sexual harassment or assault to sign nondisclosure agreements that prohibit them from talking about their experience, and the company promises to publicly release data about sexual assaults that are connected to Uber rides. He was hired in August amid a wave of revelations and allegations about rampant sexual harassment in Uber's workforce, a coverup of a big data breach, dirty tricks and stolen trade secrets.
The court had given Uber until Wednesday to say whether it would require the women to submit their claims to arbitration.
"There's no question that Uber has a unique relationship to the issue of sexual harassment in particular because of Susan Fowler's blog", said Tony West, Uber's chief legal officer. "We desire individuals to acknowledge the enormity of the concern, and we desire us to start to think about positive methods to prevent and end sexual assault".
Lyft didn't initially tell Engadget whether or not it will publish a safety report to improve its transparency surrounding sexual assault and harassment cases.
Uber is also removing confidentiality agreements in settled cases.
Following CNN's investigation and the letter, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from CT, challenged Uber's use of forced arbitration and in a letter to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi "respectfully requested" the company end the practice. CNN found that "at least 31 drivers have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape, and dozens of criminal and civil cases are pending". "Until the law is changed, thousands of Americans will continue to have their rights stripped away in silence", she said. "Data transparency is only meaningful if we describe and categorize sexual assault incidents in the same way". In fact, there is no data to reliably or accurately compare reports against Uber drivers versus taxi drivers or limo drivers, or Uber versus buses, subways, airplanes or trains. Uber is working with experts focused on sexual violence to come up with reporting standards. Uber stated the females will now have the option of bringing their specific attack declares to arbitration, meditation or open court.
Uber says it has met with more than 80 women's groups and recruited several prominent advocates as advisers on these issues.