Shortly after Uber announced that it would no longer require arbitration for claims of sexual harassment or sexual assault, Lyft said it would do the same. The ride-hailing company will also follow its rival’s lead in ending a requirement that passengers sign confidentiality agreements in order to settle claims.
Uber’s decision to end mandatory arbitration came in the context of a lawsuit filed against the company by 14 women, who allege that they were sexually assaulted by drivers. The women are seeking class-action status for their suit, and had asked Uber to waive the arbitration clause, according Recode. Lyft was quick to note that in its own announcement.
“Today, 48 hours prior to an impending lawsuit against their company, Uber made the good decision to adjust their policies,” a Lyft spokesperson told Recode yesterday. “We agree with the changes and have removed the confidentiality requirement for sexual assault victims, as well as ended mandatory arbitration for those individuals so that they can choose which venue is best for them. This policy extends to passengers, drivers, and Lyft employees.”
Arbitration is often used by companies to keep customer claims behind closed doors and out of the spotlight. The confidentiality agreements Uber and Lyft previously required claimants to sign also restricted them from talking about cases publicly. While sexual assault survivors may prefer privacy in some cases, arbitration and confidentiality agreements also left survivors at a disadvantage in litigation.
Lyft initially did not follow Uber’s lead in promising to publish data on sexual assault and sexual harassment claims. Neither company has released this data to the public before, but Uber said it would do so in a “safety transparency report.” Lyft COO Jon McNeil subsequently said he would work with Uber on the report.
Responding to a tweet by Uber chief legal officer Tony West on data transparency, McNeil said “count us in,” adding that “together we can enact massive positive change and do what’s best for passengers & drivers.”
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