In light of rising sexual harassment and assault claims, Uber is changing its terms of service. Now, riders, drivers and employees will not be forced into arbitration if they are victims of assault, harassment or abuse.
Up until now, Uber passengers were bound by the ride share company’s arbitration clause. This means that when it came to sexual harassment, assault and abuse, customers were not allowed to take their claims to court or sue Uber.
While arbitration clauses are common for a wide range of companies, Uber’s arbitration clauses promoted a culture of silence surrounding sexual misconduct. Because of this clause, victims had to deal with their claims on an individual basis.
Uber’s decision to remove the arbitration clause follows a CNN investigation, which reveals that over the last four years, over 100 Uber drivers throughout the US had been accused of sexual assault or abuse.
According to the report, “The drivers were arrested, are wanted by police, or have been named in civil suits related to the incidents. 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.”
Moving forward, Uber is giving victims the opportunity to choose how they will handle their claims, whether that be through open court, arbitration or mediation. What’s more, Uber will remove a nondisclosure agreement, making it possible for victims to speak about their experience.
According to Uber’s chief legal officer, Tony West, “We want people to acknowledge the enormity of the issue, and we want us to begin to think of constructive ways to prevent and end sexual assault.”