Uber Won't Force Sexual Misconduct Survivors Into Arbitration Anymore

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The company is ending the controversial practice of forced arbitration for all of its employees, riders, and drivers, reports CNBC.

Forced arbitration is common to many industries and allows companies to keep sexual misconduct claims out of the court system and away from public view, the Times said.

In a blog post titled "Turning the lights on", the ride-hailing company's Chief Legal Officer Tony West explained that assault victims will now have a choice of venues and processes when it comes to having their cases heard.

The company says it will lean on hired advisors such as Ebony Tucker of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Cindy Southworth of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Tina Tchen, a founder of the New York Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.

Prior to the announcement, Uber's terms of service required all allegations of this nature against drivers to be arbitrated outside of court.

There's now no way to "reliably or accurately" compare Uber's safety to other forms of transportation, Chief Legal Officer Tony West said in the blog post announcing the move, and sexual assault is a "vastly underreported crime".

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In addition, survivors will have the option to settle their claims with Uber without a confidentiality provision that prevents them from speaking about the facts of the sexual assault or sexual harassment they suffered. The Uber logo is seen outside the Uber Corporate Headquarters building in San Francisco, California on February 05, 2018.

It's only by accounting and acknowledging [reports] that we are empowered to take action in reducing the incidents of sexual assault.

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. That includes court proceedings like class-action lawsuits and other methods like mediation.

"Congratulations to Uber for choosing not to silence survivors". Victims are more likely to come forward knowing they can proceed as a group.

Arbitration clauses and nondisclosure agreements have always been business-as-usual in corporate America, but sentiment has begun to shift.

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