Uber ends forced arbitration agreements of sexual assault claims

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The new policy applies to Uber employees and drivers as well.

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

Uber's arbitration policy had previously been challenged in lawsuits, according to CNN.

Forced arbitration shields legal conflicts from public scrutiny and often requires a confidentiality agreement, silencing victims. But for critics of the company, it's long overdue.

"Whether to find closure, seek treatment, or become advocates for change themselves, survivors will be in control of whether to share their stories", wrote Tony West, Uber's chief legal officer, in a blog post. Along with the ending of forced arbitration agreements, Uber also says that it plans to release a report about the sexual harassment and assault incidents that occur during use of its services, yet no date for that report has been announced.

In a move mirroring its rival, Lyft no longer will require complaints about sexual assault and harassment be heard in private arbitration, with all settlements remaining confidential.

Uber has been dealing with a series of recent scandals. This sudden change to Uber's terms of service comes just two weeks after an investigation revealed that over the past four years, 103 Uber drivers in the United States alone have been accused of sexual misconduct.

The firm's behavior prompted a grass-roots campaign urging riders to #DeleteUber, the Times said.

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