SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) – Uber has signed a deal with a California regulator that will drastically reduce heavy fines against the company for failing to report incidents of sexual assault on its platform.
The California Municipal Commission had previously fined Uber $ 59 million in December 2020 and threatened to suspend its operating license in the state after the company failed to comply with a request for rape information. But according to the deal proposed on Thursday, the fine has now been reduced to just $ 150,000.
The reduced fine is part of a broader agreement that resulted in months of disputes between Uber, the Department of Consumer Protection and CPUC and Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, a nonprofit organization. This agreement is approved by the administrative law judge as well as the CPUC.
Under the terms of the deal, Uber agreed to provide anonymous information about incidents of sexual assault and to give those who report such incidents the ability to choose to contact the CPUC in the future. Uber has also invested more in the issue, agreeing to report to the California Victims Compensation Council $ 5 million to help victims of violence in the state and $ 4 million to develop global efforts, including the development of best practices for classification. and responding to these types of events. (Uber has agreed to pay $ 9 million to the CPUC’s Office of Finance.)
The agreement also stipulates that further comprehensive requests for information on sexual assault should be made to the industry as a whole, not just Uber or any company.
“We have been able to find a way to protect the privacy and agency of survivors of sexual assault,” said Tony West, Uber’s senior vice president and chief legal officer, in a statement. “We look forward to further cooperation with the Commission to shed light on this community issue and help set the standard.”
The CPUC said its commissioners could still reject the agreement or offer alternative terms.
The investigation originally stemmed from Uber’s safety transparency report in December 2019, when the company promised to follow up on CNN’s investigation into sexual harassment and abuse by hail drivers. A security transparency report that Uber said it intends to do every two years revealed that the company has received about 6,000 reports of sexual assault on its platform. Of these incidents, Uber revealed that there are 1,243 reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment in California, or 21 percent of all complaints.
The CPUC wanted Uber to provide more details about these incidents, including the date, time and location of each attack, the identity of each witness and the name and contact information for how they reported these incidents in a timely manner. Uber objected to the release of the information, saying the survivors were re-injured and complained of fines. (Under the agreement, Uber agreed to provide information about employees who worked on the report under seal.)
The elevator, which has similarly promised to produce a report, has not yet done so. When asked for an update on the status of the report last month, a Lyft spokesman said the company expects the Uber and CPUC dispute to be resolved before it is released.
The elevator did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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