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Uber shifts policy for alleged sexual assault cases in bid to purge sleazy image

Uber’s ride-hailing service will give its U.S. passengers and drivers extra leeway to pursue claims of sexual misconduct, its newest try and shed its repute for brushing apart dangerous behaviour.

A CNN investigation uncovered greater than 100 sexual assault accusations towards Uber drivers.

The shift will permit riders and drivers to file allegations of rape, sexual assault and harassment in courts and mediation, moderately than being locked into an arbitration listening to. Critics noticed it as a method for Uber to maintain the problems below wraps. Certainly, CNN’s investigation shed new gentle on the difficulty as Uber have by no means launched official statistics pertaining to alleged sexual assault by its drivers.

The San Francisco firm can be scrapping a coverage requiring all settlements of sexual misconduct to be stored confidential, giving victims the selection of whether or not they need to make their allegations public.

It is a conciliatory step from CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. He was employed final August amid a wave of revelations and allegations about rampant sexual harassment in Uber’s workforce, a cover-up of a large knowledge breach , soiled methods and stolen commerce secrets and techniques .

Khosrowshahi has vowed to “do the best factor,” restore the harm from earlier missteps and lure again alienated riders who defected to rivals equivalent to Lyft.

The modifications governing sexual misconduct come a month after Uber introduced it’s going to do prison background checks on its U.S. drivers yearly and add a 911 button for summoning assist in emergencies. It is an effort to reassure its riders and deal with considerations that it hadn’t executed sufficient to maintain crooks from utilizing its service to prey on potential victims.

Giving victims of sexual assault or perceived sexual harassment extra choices sends an essential message that Uber is taking the difficulty extra significantly, stated Kristen Houser, a spokeswoman for Raliance, a coalition of teams working with Uber to forestall sexual abuse on its service.

It could additionally spur extra complaints. For instance, Houser stated riders could now be extra emboldened to report inappropriate behaviour, equivalent to when a driver asks them out for a date.

“You need folks to report decrease stage infractions so you possibly can nip them within the bud earlier than they change into greater issues,” she stated.

By the top of the 12 months, Uber may also begin to publicly report incidents of alleged sexual misconduct in hopes of creating extra transparency concerning the situation all through the ride-hailing and conventional taxi industries.

“We expect the numbers are going to be disturbing,” stated Tony West, a former authorities prosecutor in the course of the Obama administration who turned Uber’s chief authorized officer after Khosrowshahi took over.

Jeanne Christensen, a lawyer representing not less than 14 ladies suing Uber within the U.S. over sexual assault allegations, congratulated the corporate for eliminating required arbitration, which she stated “will start a course of to scale back future struggling by ladies passengers.

However she stated in a written assertion Tuesday that Uber continues to struggle towards class-action standing for the ladies, displaying it’s “not totally dedicated to significant change” as a result of victims usually tend to pursue claims as a part of a bunch.


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