Uber to allow sexual assault and harassment victims to sue company

US-AVIATION-SCIENCE-TRANSPORTATION

Uber will end its practice of mandatory arbitration for claims of sexual assault and harassment by riders, drivers or employees, the company said Tuesday.

Popular ride-hailing service Uber will give its US passengers and drivers more leeway to pursue claims of sexual misconduct in its latest attempt to shed its reputation for brushing aside bad behavior.

Giving victims of sexual assault or perceived sexual harassment more options sends an important message that Uber is taking the issue more seriously, said Kristen Houser, a spokeswoman for Raliance, a coalition of groups working with Uber to prevent sexual abuse on its service.

The new policy is one of a number of changes made by new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who also is tightening driver screenings and enhancing its app so customers can have more trusted contacts able to follow each trip and a new emergency button that automatically dials 911.

Previously, upon signing up for Uber's service, Uber says users agreed to resolve any claims on an individual basis through arbitration.

Uber will also publish a a safety transparency report that will include data on sexual assaults and other incidents that occur through its platform.

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We wish to extend our deepest condolences to her family and our sincerest gratitude for her bravery and service to Congo. Earlier, tributes were paid to 25-year-old Ms Baraka, the eighth ranger to be be murdered at the park this year.

First, sexual assault and harassment victims will no longer be subject to Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) or confidentiality clauses.

"D$3 ivulging the details of what happened in a sexual assault or harassment should be up to the survivor, not us", West said. The company will now allow victims to choose the venue in which they wish to address sexual assault allegations, whether that be in open court, mediation or arbitration.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN. That includes investigations into the possible use of illegal software to monitor competitors and even disrupt efforts to regulate the ride-sharing service.

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. Hearings have the trappings of a court hearing-arbitrators are often retired judges-except that they are wholly private. The company's revised policies, in addition to not being applied retroactively, also don't apply to class-action claims. Not long after he took the job late past year, he wrote his own blog post in which he proclaimed: "We do the right thing".

"As bold and far reaching as this announcement and decision is, and as unique as it is, it won't give everything to everybody", West said, noting that the arbitration change around harassment and assault don't apply in class action suits.

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