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Industry giant Uber revamps sexual harassment policy

Many people in the Bay Area are familiar with the car service Uber, used by thousands of riders daily. Uber provides vehicle owners with a connection to people willing to pay for transportation in their local area. While Uber does screen and train drivers, the company recently found itself with a lengthy list of sexual harassment claims stemming from both customers and employees. 

Uber's previous policies required sexual harassment victims to sign confidentiality agreements, forcing them to settle their cases privately. The change in policy follows a viral campaign in which a former employee blasted Uber for attempting to cover up sexual harassment and mistreatment in the workplace. The female engineer accused the company of attempting to retaliate with bullying to silence the claims. 

After an internal investigation by Uber, about 20 employees were terminated when evidence of harassment and bullying surfaced against them. Critics indicate the problem is far more widespread. Hundreds of claims have gone unheard because victims were required to sign confidentiality agreements, keeping the stories out of the public eye. 

With the change in policy, it can be expected that more employees will come forward with claims of sexual harassment, but many may still fear retaliation or loss of employment. Both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, and employees have the right to expect their claims will be taken seriously. If an employee in the Bay Area is unsure of how to handle a sexual harassment situation, it can be helpful to seek the aid of an employment law attorney, who may be able to assist them in seeking justice without fear.

Source: The Washington Post, "Uber announces new way of handling sexual harassment complaints", Danielle Paquette, May 15, 2018

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