“It’s important to give sexual assault, and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims. So moving forward, survivors will be free to choose to resolve their individual claims in the venue they prefer,” wrote Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer. “They will be free to tell their story wherever and however they see fit.”
Uber also said it planned to publish a safety transparency report that would provide data on sexual assaults and other episodes that take place on the “Uber platform.” That would include rides and deliveries, as well such incidents that happen before pick up or after drop off.
The company said it planned to publish the review after it completed a system for reporting incidents. Uber said it hoped to have the system, which it is working on with 80 women’s groups, in place by the end of the year.
In April, 14 women who have accused Uber drivers of sexually assaulting them wrote a letter to the company’s board, urging it to waive the arbitration agreement and allow them to proceed with a lawsuit in open court.
Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer whose account of harassment and sexism at the company prompted a wide-ranging investigation into the company’s workplace culture, has also thrown her weight behind legislation in California that would prohibit companies from making arbitration agreements a condition of employment. Ms. Fowler publicly challenged Mr. Khosrowshahi to scrap the forced arbitration agreements on Twitter.
“These kind of clauses are pretty common, but to have a company come out in front of it and say ‘it’s not the right thing to do’ is significant,” said Kristen Houser, chief public affairs officer for Raliance, an advocacy group working with Uber.
In December, Microsoft announced it was eliminating forced arbitration agreements with employees who made sexual assault or harassment claims.
In an interview, Mr. West, a former Justice Department official who joined Uber in November, said its new policy applied to people currently in arbitration with Uber over sexual assault of harassment claims.