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Uber ends forced arbitration agreements for sexual misconduct claims

  • Uber says it is taking steps to bring "transparency, integrity, and accountability" to its handling of sexual misconduct.
  • The ride-hailing company says it's rolling back the use of forced arbitration agreements for employees, riders and drivers.
  • Uber says people who allege assault or harassment against the company will now have the option of settling their claims without a confidentiality provision.
Martin Ollman | Getty Images

Uber said Tuesday it is taking steps to bring "transparency, integrity, and accountability" to its handling of sexual misconduct in the workplace and involving riders.

The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company said it's rolling back the use of forced arbitration agreements for employees, riders and drivers.

Giving victims of sexual assault or perceived sexual harassment more options sends an important message that Uber is taking the issue more seriously, said a spokeswoman for Raliance, a coalition of groups working with the company to prevent sexual abuse on its service.

Last year, co-founder Travis Kalanick was pushed out as CEO as Uber faced accusations including a workplace culture of sexism and sexual harassment, as well as a cover-up of a massive data breach, dirty tricks and stolen trade secrets.

Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over for Kalanick in August, has been taking steps to address the issues. In January, Khosrowshahi told CNBC the "moral compass" at the company was not pointing in the right direction under Kalanick, whose hard-driving vision turned Uber into one of the world's most valuable private companies but also allegedly allowed a toxic work environment to fester.

In a press release Tuesday, Uber said, "maintaining the public's trust, and earning back the respect of customers we've lost through our past actions and behavior, is about more than new products and policies. It requires self-reflection and a willingness to challenge orthodoxies of the past."

To that end, Uber also said people who allege sexual assault or sexual harassment against the company will now have the option of settling their claims without a confidentiality provision.

Uber said it plans to publish a "safety transparency report," including data on sexual assaults and other incidents that happen on the platform.

The changes governing sexual misconduct come a month after Uber announced that it will perform criminal background checks on its U.S. drivers annually and add a 911 button for summoning help in emergencies. It's an effort to reassure its riders and address concerns that it had not done enough to keep people from using its service to prey on potential victims.

— Associated Press contributed to this report.

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