Uber has announced a major change to its User Agreement. Uber will no longer demand arbitration when passengers report they have been sexually assaulted or harassed by drivers. Arbitration (which is generally seen as a pro-business), rather than a jury trial, had previously been required to resolve disputes under Uber’s user agreement.
The decision by Uber, hailed as a victory for sexual assault and abuse victims who are pursuing civil justice, comes on the heels of a CNN investigation that exposed numerous incidents of sexual assaults and abuse by Uber drivers. CNN reported that at least 103 Uber drivers in the U.S. have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years. Moreover, at least 31 drivers have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape, and dozens of criminal and civil cases are pending.
Prior to this announcement, when signing up for Uber’s service, Uber users were required to agree to resolve any claims on an individual basis through arbitration. The practice, which has been largely unsuccessfully challenged in lawsuits, helped the company keep the issue of widespread sexual abuse quiet and largely out of the public record. Victims will now have the choice of venue to pursue their claims of sexual sexual assault or harassment — mediation, arbitration, or open court with a jury trial.
Attorney Adam Horowitz hailed this announcement as victory of victims of sexual assault and for transparency. “Victims will now have an opportunity have their day in Court with the right to a jury trial as guaranteed by our Constitution”, according to Adam Horowitz.
Horowitz Law offers some tips to riders to reduce the risk of sexual assault by an Uber or Lyft driver.
- Make sure that the driver’s license plate matches the license plate on the app. The make and model of the car should also match. There are many report incidents of impostor drivers.
- Ride in the backseat when traveling alone. Do not sit in the front seat. The backseat will create a safety barrier.
- Don’t discuss personal details — including whether you live alone, where you work, or whether you consumed alcohol earlier in the evening.
- Ride with others whenever possible.
Attorney Adam Horowitz represents victims of sexual assault by Uber drivers. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, battery, or rape by a driver for Uber, Lyft or another ride-sharing program, please contact attorney Adam Horowitz via e-mail at [email protected] or call 954-641-2100 for a free consultation