Uber and Lyft agree to stop forcing driver sexual assault victims into arbitration, confidentiality agreements

Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft have now both stated that they will no longer force victims of sexual assault into non-binding arbitration, as has been the practice of both firms until today.

Lyft today announced their commitment just hours after Uber announced the same.

That's right. If you used either service, ever, you agreed to enter arbitration rather than go to court if your driver rapes you.

Don't remember consenting to that? Well, you probably didn't read the EULA you had to click through to use the Uber or Lyft app. Few of us do. That's how they get away with this stuff

Today Lyft also said they will no longer force you to approve a confidentiality agreement in exchange for settlements. Uber announced this same change earlier, too.

"We agree with the changes [Uber made] 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," said Lyft spokesperson Alexandra LaManna in a statement on Tuesday.

Why the sudden change of heart?

CNN recently aired an investigative report on sexual assault and related abuse by Uber and Lyft drivers. CNN's reporting shows how company policy enables rapists and serial abusers–they get away with it, no life-altering consequences–and harms victims further.

CNN found that at least 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing paying riders over the past four years.

No data is available to the public on the number of sexual assaults by Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare companies, CNN found. Their analysis came from "an in-depth review of police reports, federal court records and county court databases for 20 major US cities."

From CNN:

The update will apply to riders, drivers and employees who will be able to choose the venue in which they want to pursue redress of their sexual harassment or assault claims, whether that's arbitration, mediation or open court.

Previously, upon signing up for Uber or Lyft services, users had to agree to resolve claims on an individual basis through arbitration. Critics say the practice helps companies keep the issue of sexual violence quiet.

CNN's investigation found at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States who have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years. The drivers were either arrested, are wanted by police, or have been named in civil suits related to the incidents.

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, CNN found.

A similar CNN review using the same methodology found 18 cases of Lyft drivers accused in the past four years. Four drivers have been convicted.

'Lyft joins Uber to end forced arbitration for sexual assault victims,' Sara Ashley O'Brien, CNN