Senator urges Uber to stop forced arbitration in sexual assault cases

Senator Richard Blumenthal wants to let victims seek justice in open court.

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A CNN investigation recently revealed that Uber has had at least 103 different sexual assault cases filed against its drivers in the past four years. What's worse is that Uber has also reportedly forced victims to settle their cases via arbitration rather than open court, a move which helps keep the epidemic silent. Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal is now calling on the company to release the survivors of these assaults from these agreements and allow them to seek justice in court.

"I challenge you to finally demonstrate how seriously you take the issue of sexual harassment and assault," said Blumenthal in a letter to Uber. "Your company must lead by example and show that it values transparency and your users' safety more than your company's bottom line. I respectfully request that you immediately stop enforcing arbitration agreements against individuals who bring claims of sexual harassment or assault. More broadly, I urge you to end your use of these dangerous agreements against your customers."

Forced arbitration clauses, says Blumenthal, also prevent victims from joining class-action suits. They disadvantage consumers for the benefit of large corporations and can also deter victims from seeking justice in the first place. The letter also points out that Microsoft has voluntarily ended its practice of using arbitration agreements in the case of sexual harassment, and calls on Uber to do the right thing and follow suit. "A company that is focused on its customers should be working to protect their rights," Blumenthal wrote, "not to eliminate them."

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