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Uber shifts policy for alleged sexual misconduct on service

AP  |  San Francisco 

Uber's ride-hailing service will give its US passengers and drivers more leeway to pursue claims of sexual misconduct, its latest attempt to reverse its reputation for brushing aside bad behavior.

The shift announced today will allow riders and drivers to file allegations of rape, sexual assault and harassment in courts and mediation instead of being locked into an arbitration hearing.

The company is also scrapping a policy requiring all settlements of to be kept confidential, giving victims the choice of whether they want to make their experience public.

The new rules mark a conciliatory step made by He was hired last August amid a wave of revelations and allegations about rampant sexual harassment in its workforce, a cover-up of a massive data breach , dirty tricks and stolen trade secrets.

Khosrowshahi has launched a campaign to "do the right thing" to repair the damage left by Uber's previous regime and lure back alienated riders who defected to rivals such as

The changes governing come a month after announced it will do 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 hadn't done enough to keep crooks from using its service to prey on potential victims.

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

It may also spur more complaints. For example, Houser said riders may now be more emboldened to report inappropriate behavior, such as when a asks them out for a date.

"You want people to report lower level infractions so you can nip them in the bud before they become bigger problems," she said.

By the end of the year, Uber will also start to publicly report incidents of alleged in hopes of establishing more transparency about the issue throughout the ride-hailing and traditional taxi industries.

"We think the numbers are going to be disturbing," said Tony West, a former government during the who became Uber's after Khosrowshahi took over.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 17:00 IST
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