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Uber Settles Drivers’ Lawsuit for $20 Million

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber on Monday settled a long-running legal battle with drivers in California and Massachusetts who wanted the ride-hailing company to recognize them as employees, agreeing to pay the drivers $20 million but not changing their status as independent contractors.As part of the settlement, Uber said, it will also change the way it removes drivers from the service by making the process more transparent. It published a policy that describes how it deactivates drivers and said it would institute an appeals mechanism, as well as classes to teach drivers how to improve ride quality.The settlement defuses a potentially thorny issue as Uber prepares to go…

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Google Ends Forced Arbitration for All Employee Disputes

SAN FRANCISCO — Google said it would no longer force employees to settle disputes with the company in private arbitration, expanding on an earlier pledge to do away with the practice in cases of sexual harassment or assault.Google informed its staff in an email on Thursday that the new policy would take effect globally on March 21 for current and future employees. Gina Scigliano, a Google spokeswoman, confirmed the changes.In November, the company agreed to scrap forced arbitration in individual cases of sexual harassment or assault after 20,000 Google workers staged a walkout demanding changes to how it treats employees. The walkout was prompted by a New…

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Facebook to Drop Forced Arbitration in Harassment Cases

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook said on Friday that it would no longer force employees to settle sexual harassment claims in private arbitration, making it the latest technology company to do away with a practice that critics say has stacked the deck against victims of harassment.Facebook acted one day after Google announced similar plans. Last week, 20,000 Google employees staged a walkout from the company’s offices around the world to demand that it change the way it handled sexual harassment incidents. Microsoft changed its arbitration policy about a year ago, as did the ride-hailing company Uber six months ago.The technology industry, known for its groundbreaking products as well…

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Bits: Kevin’s Week in Tech: Crypto Tokin’

Maybe it was the wafting weed fragrance, or the Lambos, or just the sight of lots of rich men talking about margin trading while awkwardly dancing to rap music, but I picked up a strong Wall-Street-party-circa-2006 vibe from Blockchain Week.I’m not an expert on the cryptocurrency markets, and wouldn’t venture to guess what will happen to currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in the coming months. But it’s clear that the cryptocurrency community hasn’t been cowed by the price swings in recent months, and that elements of Wall Street’s pre-crash culture of celebratory excess are everywhere you look.Some other tech stories of note this week:• In a surprising…

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Uber Eliminates Forced Arbitration for Sex Misconduct Claims

“It’s important to give sexual assault, and harassment survivors control of how they pursue their claims. So moving forward, survivors will be free to choose to resolve their individual claims in the venue they prefer,” wrote Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer. “They will be free to tell their story wherever and however they see fit.”Uber also said it planned to publish a safety transparency report that would provide data on sexual assaults and other episodes that take place on the “Uber platform.” That would include rides and deliveries, as well such incidents that happen before pick up or after drop off.The company said it planned to…

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