Uber will no longer silence victims of sexual assault

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made company culture a priority

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made company culture a priority

Uber, which has faced a number of claims involving sexual assault or misconduct, said in a statement it "will no longer require mandatory arbitration for individual claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment by Uber riders, drivers or employees".

Survivors will now have the choice to pursue claims in mediation, where they can choose confidentiality; in arbitration, where they can choose to maintain their privacy while pursuing their case, or in open court - leaving those affected "free to tell their story" however they see fit, Uber said.

Uber says it is taking steps to help reduce the culture of silence around sexual violence on its platform in the wake of a CNN investigation into sexual assaults and abuse by Uber drivers.

Concerns about safety and Uber's attitude to reporting serious crimes were also among the reasons identified by London's transport regulator for withdrawing Uber's license to operate in the United Kingdom capital last September.

And on the new transparency report, West admits Uber struggled with the decision to publish data - saying this is "because data on safety and sexual assaults is sparse and inconsistent", and there is no uniform industry standard for reporting it. Survivors of sexual misconduct can also settle claims with Uber without having to sign a confidentiality agreement. West added, "I want to thank (CNN) for the reporting that you've done on this issue".

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He also flags the problem of crimes of sexual violence being underreported. "We want to bring these numbers out in the open. It doesn't go to all kinds of legal claims", West said.

Uber is now facing a class action lawsuit in the United States for poor driver vetting that has led to a series of sexual harassment incidents, including rape. Ms. Fowler publicly challenged Mr. Khosrowshahi to scrap the forced arbitration agreements on Twitter.

Beyond Uber, there's been a push to cut back on the use of forced arbitration by employers. She joined California lawmakers in April to introduce a state bill that would ban forced arbitration.

Lyft announced its new stance Tuesday, a few hours after Uber announced the same shift as part of its efforts to turn over a new leaf after a wave of revelations and allegations about its bad behavior.

- CNN's Nelli Black, Curt Devine, Drew Griffin, Majlie de Puy Kamp, Collette Richards and Whitney Clegg contributed reporting.

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