techkenyot.com
techkenyot.com January 19, 2019


Lyft Says It Won't Force Misconduct Cases Into Arbitration Anymore

16 May 2018, 03:36 | Hattie Nash

Uber is changing how it handles assault claims. Robyn Beck AFP Getty Images

US-AVIATION-SCIENCE-TRANSPORTATION

Now, in the U.S., Uber is waiving the requirement for these victims. Arbitration is done behind closed doors and outside the view of the public.

Last year, co-founder Travis Kalanick was pushed out as CEO when Uber faced accusations including a workplace culture of sexism and sexual harassment.

"Last month, Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer who authored a 2017 viral blog post about sexual harassment endured while working there, said: "We need to end the practice of forced arbitration", she wrote on April 12", legal loopholes companies use to cover up their illegal treatment of employees". Critics saw it as a way for Uber to keep the issues under wraps. Rival Lyft Inc. announced similar changes on Tuesday. The new policy, which applies to riders, drivers, and Uber employees, means victims now have the option to go to court or join a class-action lawsuit. Uber is mandated to respond by Wednesday.

The company's change in how it handles these matters reflects a deliberate corporate decision to contribute toward a more outspoken, open culture of speaking out against sexual abuse and end what has always been a culture of corporate silence around such matters across industries. If this approach survives court challenges, it could limit the potential payout for lawyers and damages that Uber could face.

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"Congratulations to Uber for choosing not to silence survivors, " said Jeanne Christensen, a partner at Wigdor.

With these principles in mind, earlier this year we began making significant improvements to our safety processes.

Uber is the second technology powerhouse in the past year to do away with requiring employers or customers to settle sexual misconduct complaints in private.

A CNN investigation revealed at least 103 Uber drivers in the US were accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in the past four years. Second, the company has also pledged to "eventually" release a report with data on sexual harassment and assault incidents that have occurred on its services.

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"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. That's why we've met more than 80 women's groups and recruited advisors like Ebony Tucker of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Cindy Southworth of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Tina Tchen, one of the founders of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund and partner at Buckley Sandler LLP to advise us on these issues.

"We're working with experts in the field to develop a taxonomy to categorize the incidents that are reported to us", he concluded.

"Divulging the details of what happened in a sexual assault or harassment should be up to the survivor, not us", Uber said.

West acknowledged cultural change within a company is hard.

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Mr Khosrowshahi called the changes "an important step forward in our commitment to safety and transparency".



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