Consumer Confidential: Uber And Lyft See The Light On Sexual Assault, But They Could Do A Whole Lot Better

By David Lazarus
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Policy changes at Uber and Lyft come two weeks after CNN reported that at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers over the last four years.

Los Angeles Times

Ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft patted themselves on the back this week for adopting a totally #MeToo policy that victims of sexual assault and harassment won’t be held to the companies’ forced-arbitration requirement and will be able to seek their day in court.

“We have learned it’s important to give sexual assault and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims,” Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, said in a blog post.

He said the company will allow such people to sue rather than arbitrate and will not hold them to any confidentiality agreements. “They will be free to tell their story wherever and however they see fit,” he said.

Lyft promptly declared itself on board with that, declaring: “We agree with the changes and have removed the confidentiality requirement for sexual assault victims, as well as ended mandatory arbitration for those individuals.”

These are laudable moves.

They’re also not good enough. Not even close.

When you get to the fine print of each company’s announcement, you see that Uber and Lyft are still concerned as much with protecting themselves as they are with protecting victims.

While the companies get points for allowing some customers to sue, they’re still denying people the right to join others in class actions, which can be far more costly to businesses than individual lawsuits.

They’re also still requiring people to secretly arbitrate any dispute that doesn’t involve sexual assault or harassment, even though they’ve acknowledged that going to trial can be preferable for people with a story to tell.

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