Uber is reversing the controversial policies on sexual harassment and assault claims that have beleaguered the ride-share company, including quietly settling with victims.
Now, people who file misconduct claims against the company may pursue them in open court, Uber announced.
“The last 18 months have exposed a silent epidemic of sexual assault and harassment that haunts every industry and every community,” Uber said Tuesday. “Uber is not immune to this deeply rooted problem, and we believe that it is up to us to be a big part of the solution.”
The Silicon Valley-based company spent more than a year battling a wave of scandals, including allegations it fostered a hostile work environment rampant with sexual harassment.
That’s carried into its policies for addressing sexual misconduct on the part of its passengers and drivers.
Uber will no longer force claims immediately into arbitration, a policy previously engrained into its terms of service.
Instead, claims can be addressed however an employee, driver or passenger who’s been assaulted chooses, the company said. That still includes arbitration as well as court or mediation.
The company’s past policy of keeping all claims confidential is also being scrubbed. Those who opt to reach a settlement will now be free to speak publicly about the allegations.
As many as 103 Uber drivers in the U.S. were found to have acted inappropriately toward passengers since 2014, a CNN investigation published last month found.
Uber on Tuesday said it will release data on sexual assault or harassment in Uber vehicles.
Chief Legal Officer Tony West wrote in a blog post that the report should highlight the complicated issue of reporting assault in the taxi and limousine issue.
“Our message to the world is that we need to turn the lights on,” he wrote. “It starts with improving our product and policies, but it requires so much more, and we’re in it for the long haul.”
The reoport is slated to be released by the end of 2018, and West told the Associated Press there’s speculation “the numbers are going to be disturbing.”
Company executives have taken steps to fix some of the ills plaguing Uber over the last year.
Last month, it announced drivers would be subjected to criminal background checks to weed out bad actors, and provide other safety measures for vehicles using the platform.
Uber was accused last year of running a toxic office environment lacking diversity, with an internal report noting most of its engines were white males.
Founder and CEO Travis Kalanick was booted last June amid news Uber used questionable technology to track competing car services and covering up a major data breach.
Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as CEO last August, addressed the broader problems at Uber in a video released Monday, vowing the compan would start owning its mistakes.