Uber's app and logo. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A group of women who have sued Uber, alleging that they were sexually assaulted by drivers, is asking Uber's board to release them from their arbitration agreements, according to a copy of a letter sent to Axios.

Why it matters: Companies rely on arbitration clauses buried in terms of service to keep legal disputes out of court. The practice has come under fire recently, as critics charge companies use it to hide illegal activities and silence victims.

The issue at the heart of the women's class-action lawsuit: They say Uber misled them to believe they would be safe using its service as passengers. Uber, the suit charges, doesn't do enough to screen its drivers and protect riders.

  • Uber's driver screening practices and policies have been criticized over the years for failing to catch past convictions that fall outside its scope or for not screening beyond criminal records.
  • Earlier this month, Uber announced it would start rerunning driver background checks annually. It will also add new emergency features to its app, such as the ability to call 911, and it will no longer store passengers' exact pickup and drop-off locations in drivers' apps.

As for arbitration clauses, Uber's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, has said (in a Twitter exchange with ex-employee Susan Fowler) that he will seriously consider the issue. Of course, there's no guarantee the company will change course.

Go deeper

Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

Louisiana braces for 3rd hurricane in 2 months as Tropical Storm Zeta nears

Municipality workers clean the streets of garbage in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Tuesday that was left by Zeta, which struck the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 Hurricane a day earlier — causing no major damage to infrastructure. Photo: Medios y Media/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane and bring dangerous storm surge conditions to parts of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Federal Declaration of Emergency in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday, ahead of the storm's expected arrival south of New Orleans.

3 hours ago - Technology

Trump's campaign website hacked

A screenshot of the Trump campaign website after it was hacked.

The Trump campaign website briefly went down and its "About" page was modified after hackers attacked the site Tuesday evening.

The big picture: With just seven days before the election, the hackers emulated the FBI and declared on the "About" page that: "this was seized. the world has had enough of the fake-news spreaded [sic] daily by president donald j trump. it is time to allow the world to know truth." Two addresses linked to the cryptocurrency Monero appeared on the site. Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh in a statement said no sensitive data had been exposed in the attack.

Go deeper: Twitter hack raises fears of an unstable election