losangelesnewstoday.com May 24, 2018

Lyft joins Uber to end forced arbitration for sexual assault victims

16 May 2018, 12:41 | Maryann Sutton

Lyft also ends arbitration policy for sexual assault claims Megan Rose Dickey @ 12 hours

Lyft also ends arbitration policy for sexual assault claims		
	Megan Rose Dickey

   	12 hours

"The last 18 months have exposed a silent epidemic of sexual assault and harassment that haunts every industry and every community", Tony West, Uber's chief legal officer, wrote in a blog post on Uber's website.

A spokeswoman for Uber told NPR that the company has been considering a change to its arbitration policy for several months.

They also pledge to work with women's groups and organizations that specialize in sexual violence to figure out how best to publicly release data about sexual assaults that are connected to Uber rides and make it open-source, so others can use it. "This policy extends to passengers, drivers and Lyft employees".

The decision by the San Francisco ride-hailing pioneer to drop its insistence on mandatory arbitration for such claims was followed by Lyft, Reuters reported.

The modification comes 2 weeks after the reporter reported the outcomes of its examination, which discovered a minimum of 103 Uber motorists in the United States who have actually been implicated of sexually attacking or abusing their guests in the past 4 years.

Facing another wave of damaging publicity, Uber said today that it will no longer require mandatory arbitration for claims of sexual assault involving the company's drivers and employees. West included, "I wish to thank (the reporter) for the reporting that you have actually done on this problem".

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The news came just hours after Uber announced the same change in the wake of a recent CNN investigation into the sexual assaults and abuse by drivers. The absence of openness about the variety of events committed by motorists has actually been a sticking point by victims in suits, which declare Uber aims to hide the true scope of the issue from its consumers. "We agree with the changes".

And last month, Fowler wrote an op-ed in The New York Times arguing that to fight sexual harassment, the US needs to bring an end to forced arbitration of sexual harassment cases - across the board.

Assault and harassment cases are now exempt from that requirement.

"I do expect these numbers to be numbers that people will be rightly upset by and will rightly be able to take concrete action against", said Uber's West, a former top Justice Department official.

Following the reporter's examination 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 asked for" the business end the practice. Uber is shifting its stance after receiving an open letter from the NY law firm Wigdor LLP, which already has filed a lawsuit seeking to be certified as a class action representing women who allege they have been raped, sexually harassed or abused in other ways by Uber drivers.

In addition to restricting class-action suits, Uber will still force users to keep certain settlement terms-for example, how much money they may or may not receive from Uber-confidential.

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