Uber and Lyft on Tuesday ended mandatory arbitration for their riders and employees, reports Law & Crime.
Before this change, those working for the rideshare companies, as well as any passengers riding in the vehicles were bound by the companies’ employment policies and terms of service.
Those policies insisted that sexual harassment or assault claims must be resolved through arbitration instead of through the regular court system. Those policies, if they’re even noticed by drivers or riders, are rarely considered in-depth at a time before any sexual harassment arises.
Later, when someone finds his or herself victimized, it’s often unwelcome news from an attorney that the court system is off-limits.
Last month, 14 women alleged they’d been sexually victimized by their Uber drivers, and asked that their cases be heard in court, not in arbitration. Tony West, Uber’s Chief Legal Officer, made the following statement regarding the change:
“Moving forward, survivors will be free to choose to resolve their individual claims in the venue they prefer: in a mediation where they can choose confidentiality; in arbitration, where they can choose to maintain their privacy while pursuing their case; or in open court. Whatever they decide, they will be free to tell their story wherever and however they see fit.
“Divulging the details of what happened in a sexual assault or harassment should be up to the survivor, not us. So we’re making it clear that Uber will not require confidentiality provisions or non-disclosure agreements to prevent survivors from talking about the facts of what happened to them.
“Whether to find closure, seek treatment, or become advocates for change themselves, survivors will be in control of whether to share their stories. Enabling survivors to make this choice will help to end the culture of silence that surrounds sexual violence.”