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Rideshare companies make changes to user policies

Hawaii residents who use Uber or Lyft can take sexual harassment or assault complaints to court instead of to arbitration. The two companies are taking forced arbitration clauses off their user agreements, and Uber says that this is being done for the sake of transparency. It also said that the change will apply to drivers and other employees as well as riders.

Lyft said in a statement that it agreed with the changes that Uber had made and decided to follow its lead. Changes made to its user agreement will also apply to employees and drivers in addition to passengers. Forced arbitration has become a major issue throughout the nation as the Me Too movement has gained prominence. While both Lyft and Uber have had complaints about sexual harassment, Uber's issues have been more pronounced.

The company was initially fined $8.9 million by the Colorado public utility commission after it was found to have hired drivers with criminal records. In June 2017, the CEO of Uber stepped down months after a former software engineer claimed that she and others had faced discrimination at work. In November 2017, the company was accused of allowing thousands of female passengers to be sexually harassed or raped because of poor driver vetting practices.

Those who are subject to sexual abuse of any kind could press both civil and criminal charges against their abuser. In a civil case, a company could be held liable if an abuser performed services for it as an employee. An attorney may review a case to determine if employment or other laws were broken by that company. If successful, an individual may be entitled to compensation for medical bills incurred as well as emotional distress caused by an attack.

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