California regulator approves $9M settlement for Uber sexual assault reporting

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Thursday approved a $9 million settlement agreement with Uber for the company’s failure to report data on sexual harassment and assault. The approved settlement agreement is between CPUC’s Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division, Uber, and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

In its 2019 US Safety Report, Uber reported that the total number of assault and sexual harassment claims for 2017 and 2018 was 5,981. In response to this, CPUC ordered Uber to file the report and answer questions regarding the assault and sexual harassment claims. Uber filed the report but refused to provide data on grounds that it would be a “shocking violation of privacy.”

In December 2020, CPUC fined Uber $59 million for Uber’s failure to provide the information. The fine was reduced to $150,000 in July.

Under the settlement agreement approved Thursday, Uber will pay $9 million to support safety initiatives that directly promote public interest in passenger safety. This includes $5 million to the California Victims Compensation Board and $4 million for efforts to address physical and sexual violence in the passenger carrier industry. Uber will further pay a $150,000 fine to California’s General Fund.

As part of the settlement, Uber will provide information, using unique identifiers, on sexual assault and harassment to the CPUC in the future. It will also create a process for survivors to make more information on their assaults available to the CPUC. The process will require survivors to opt-in.

On the same day of the agreement, Uber also published an article highlighting its efforts to maximize safety.

Survivors of sexual harassment or assault are able to bring claims through mediation, arbitration, or open court, as Uber announced in 2018 that it would no longer require claims of sexual assault and sexual harassment committed by Uber riders, drivers or employees to be resolved through arbitration.