Just hours after Uber announced that it would allow riders, drivers and passengers with individual claims of sexual assault against the company to pursue their cases in open court, Lyft announced that it, too, would waive its arbitration agreement.
Like Uber’s new arbitration agreement, this means that riders who allege they are victims of sexual misconduct are not forced to mediate their claims against Lyft behind closed doors. This flexibility around the arbitration agreement does not extend to all riders, only those who have sexual assault claims.
Uber’s decision to do away with forced arbitration came just days before a deadline to respond to a lawsuit filed against the company by 14 women who allege they were assaulted by their drivers. Those women are seeking class action status, and asked the company to waive the arbitration clause.
Under Uber’s new agreement, anyone who chooses to settle their sexual misconduct litigations against the company is also no longer required to sign a confidentiality agreement.
A Lyft spokesperson said the company has also waived its confidentiality requirement for sexual assault victims.
“Today, 48 hours prior to an impending lawsuit against their company, Uber made the good decision to adjust their policies,” a Lyft spokesperson said. “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.”
However, Lyft did not initially respond to Uber’s call for all transportation and ride-share companies to join it in publishing a safety report that included a subset of the sexual assault reports the company receives.
Update: Lyft says it, too, expects to publish a safety report on sexual assault complaints it receives on its platforml. It’s too soon to tell whether the companies will work together on creating a standard reporting structure for the industry, or any other details on what it will entail.
Lyft COO Jon McNeil has also now agreed to work together with Uber on this report. McNeill was responding to a tweet that Uber’s chief legal officer Tony West sent in response to our story.
@tonywest, count us in. Together we can enact massive positive change and do what's best for passengers & drivers.— Jon McNeill (@jonmcneill) May 15, 2018
Uber’s new arbitration agreement around sexual assault victims does not alter its stance on allowing riders to pursue class action claims against the company. We’ve also asked Lyft about the company’s stance on class action lawsuits.
“So, while these changes may not please everybody, we believe they represent big, bold steps forward that will ultimately help us all prevent sexual assault more effectively,” Uber’s chief legal officer Tony West told Recode when asked about this decision.
This is developing.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.