Last month, Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer who authored a 2017 viral blog post about sexual harassment she endured while working there, penned an op-ed for the New York Times on how to terminate such behavior.
Jeanne Christensen, a Wigdor partner, congratulated Uber for shedding the arbitration policy, a move she said "will begin a process to reduce future suffering by women passengers".
Instead, the ride-sharing company will allow victims - including passengers, drivers and employees - to choose the venue in which they want to resolve such claims.
"So we're making it clear that Uber will not require confidentiality provisions or non-disclosure agreements to prevent survivors from talking about the facts of what happened to them".
The company says the change is an attempt to bring "transparency, integrity, and accountability" to the way it handles workplace complaints. West joined Uber in October 2017 after previously serving as associate attorney general during the Obama administration.
Uber says it has learned that it's important to give sexual assault and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims.
There's now no way to "reliably or accurately" compare Uber's safety to other forms of transportation, Chief Legal Officer Tony West said in the blog post announcing the move, and sexual assault is a "vastly underreported crime".
There is no publicly available data for the number of sexual assaults by Uber drivers or drivers of other rideshare companies. As with the arbitration change, this will apply to cases now pending and cases moving forward.
Uber is shifting its stance after receiving an open letter from the NY law firm Wigdor LLP, which already has filed a lawsuit seeking to be certified as a class action representing women who allege they have been raped, sexually harassed or abused in other ways by Uber drivers. The company's revised policies, in addition to not being applied retroactively, also don't apply to class-action claims.