• iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than a dozen women, who have accused Uber drivers of sexual assault, penned an open letter Thursday demanding the ride-sharing company let them pursue their claims in court rather than force them to resolve their cases privately through arbitration.Fourteen women, who allege to be victims of sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment and gender-motivated violence at the hands of Uber drivers, sent the letter directly to the company's 11-member board of directors, requesting that they be voluntarily released from the mandatory arbitration provision in the Uber mobile app's consumer agreement.The women -- who identify themselves as Katherine, Lauren, Sophia, K.B., Rachel, Jane Doe 6, Stephanie, Joy, Jennifer, Sasha, Annie, Elizabeth, Briana, and Addison -- argue that "secret arbitration" goes against Uber's declared mission to help "make streets safer" as well as one of its mantras, "We do the right thing. Period."The women claim in the letter that "silencing" their stories is a disservice to customers who deserve to know about their "horrific" experiences."Forcing female riders, as a condition of using Uber’s app, to pursue claims of sexual assault and rape in secret arbitration proceedings does not 'make streets safer.' In fact, it does the opposite," the women write. "Silencing our stories deprives customers and potential investors from the knowledge that our horrific experiences are part of a widespread problem at Uber. This is not doing the 'right thing.'"The letter continues, "Secret arbitration takes away a woman’s right to a trial by a jury of her peers and provides a dark alley for Uber to hide from the justice system, the media, and public scrutiny."An Uber spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that the company had received the letter Thursday and said in a statement, "Sexual assault has no place anywhere and we are committed to doing our part to end this violence."The spokesperson also noted that the arbitration provision allows plaintiffs to publicly speak out as much as they want and have control over their individual privacy at the same time.Last year in mid-November, two women filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of themselves and other women who allege similar incidents with Uber drivers. Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, as they are called in the complaint, identify themselves respectively as Katherine and Lauren in Thursday's letter as they recount their stories.Katherine, a Miami resident, alleges that an Uber driver entered her apartment without her consent, then sexually assaulted and raped her after driving her home in the early morning hours of Oct. 15, 2016.Lauren, a Los Angeles resident, alleges that an Uber driver sexually assaulted her when she fell asleep in the backseat on the night of Jan. 18, 2017. Then, he allegedly followed her into her home and raped her.The letter also shares the allegations of Stephanie in New York City, Addison in Los Angeles and Annie in San Jose, which was not detailed in the lawsuit.The complaint states that Uber uses "low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks" for their drivers and does not monitor drivers for "violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired."Even after allegations of sexual misconduct have emerged against Uber drivers, the lawsuit claims that: "Nothing meaningful has been done to make rides safer for passengers -- especially women."The same day the lawsuit was filed, an Uber spokesperson told ABC News at the time that the company was reviewing the complaint and it takes the allegations seriously."Uber received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it," the spokesperson said in a statement on Nov. 14, 2017. "These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously."Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said the company is taking a hard look at the allegations. Earlier this month, Khosrowshahi
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you find yourself awake in bed at night reliving a bad interaction with a coworker or a different stressful work experience, a simple trick could be the key to getting a good night’s sleep.Just spending some amount of time each night doing something that completely detaches you from work is beneficial for sleep, according to new research.Even better is that it doesn’t matter how you relax or for how long, just as long as you take time for yourself every day, the research found.“If it’s something that allows you to detach from work, to forget about it, and if it’s something that allows you to relax, that’s what is really important,” Caitlin Demsky, PhD, the lead author of the new research, told “GMA.”Demsky’s research found that negative behavior at work -- like being verbally abused or judged by colleagues -- was linked to symptoms of insomnia, including not being able to fall asleep, waking up at night and waking up not feeling refreshed.Employees who were able to spend time after work doing something they enjoyed – being with family and friends, reading, exercising, meditating, listening to music - reported better sleep.Going out after work with your coworkers can even be an option, as long as it is relaxing for you, according to Demsky, a professor at Oakland University in Michigan.“If going out with a drink for your coworker is something you find engaging and relaxing, maybe you’re an extrovert, then great,” she said. “But if you’re introverted and it’s going to be a drain, then you don’t have to do it, maybe reading a book is a better option for you.”Nearly 700 employees of the U.S. Forest Service were surveyed for the research, published this week in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.The research findings also indicate that as important as it is for employees to relax post-work, it’s also critical that workplaces create a culture that supports employees, noted Demsky.“My biggest takeaway would be, especially on workdays when it’s hard, to focus on taking time for yourself and recovering,” she said. “Detach from work and get some relaxing in, even on days when it’s really hard.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hate your boss? You're not alone. A new survey from the animal charity SPANA polled 2,000 workers in the U.K. and quizzed them about what they didn't like about their supervisor. Turns out, it's a lot.While the poll questioned worker drones from over the Pond, the results are pretty universal: 40% of those polled thought their boss was bad at their job, and 1/3 thought they'd do a better job than their manager.  A fifth of those polled said their manager was the worst part of their job -- easily outpacing the headaches of commuting -- and one in four said they look forward to their boss' vacation more than they looked forward to their own.The survey also ranked the top 50 traits employees hate about their bosses.  The number-one gripe?  Poor communication skills.  Other unpleasant traits to range from being ungrateful, to bad breath.  Here's the entire list:1. Doesn’t communicate well2. I think they’re inconsistent3. Sets their own rules4. Doesn’t understand my work5. I think they’re incompetent6. Patronizes me7. Sets a bad example8. Never says thank you9. Says one thing and does another10. Has mood swings11. I think they’re passive aggressive12. Brings their personal life to work13. Obviously favors another member of staff14. Makes me feel stupid15. Delegates too much work to me16. Never gives praise or feedback17. Doesn’t actually do any work18. Assumes I’m happy to do their work as well as my own19. I think they’re overpaid20. They think I’m a mind reader21. I think they’re tight with pay rises22. Sucks up to their own boss23. Takes credit for other people’s work24. Gives out banter but can’t take it25. Makes me feel guilty for taking time off26. Doesn’t have my back27. Leaves early every day28. I think they’re tight with bonuses29. I think they’re unqualified for the job30. Works from home all the time31. Always picks on one member of staff32. Has annoying catchphrases33. Has bad breath34. Calls me in the evening when I’m not working35. Listens in to everyone’s conversations in the office36. Repeats the same phrases and jokes over and over again37. Tells me off in front of everyone instead of in a meeting room38. Asks for my opinion then claims it as their own39. Calls me at weekends when I’m not working40. Makes unfunny jokes41. Expects everyone to turn up on time when they’re always late42. Awful dress sense43. Blames me for things they’ve done wrong44. Calls me when I’m on vacation45. Always talks about previous successes46. Farts47. I think they’re very scruffy48. Always expects a tea/coffee but never/rarely makes one themselves49. I think they’re sexist50. Bores everyone with their vacation photos and anecdotesCopyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, also referred to as the lynching museum, opens in Montgomery, Alabama, on Thursday.The memorial and museum are a project of the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a legal advocacy group that hopes to create a site for reflection on America’s history of racial inequality.The idea for the memorial came out of the EJI’s investigation into the history of lynchings in the American south. The group documented more than 4,400 lynchings between 1877 to 1950, visiting thousands of lynching sites, collecting soil and erecting markers along the way. The soil is now part of the museum’s display, with each jar labeled with the name of a victim.The six-acre site includes a memorial square and 800 six-foot monuments symbolizing each county in the United States where lynchings took place and engraved with names. A second set of identical monuments left unadorned wait to be claimed and installed.The group hopes the site helps people more honestly confront the legacy of slavery, lynching and segregation.“Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape,” EJI Director Bryan Stevenson said. “This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice.”On Friday, the museum will host a concert for the opening, featuring performances by The Roots, Dave Matthews, Usher, Common, and more.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Today is National Hug a Plumber Day, but before you embrace yours, let's have a laugh.From fixing a busted toilet or a broken pipe, most plumbers try their best to repair all sorts of things typical homeowners and renters don't want to mess with.So it's no wonder that when they delve into the deeply buried waste disposal systems and water supply lines, they encounter some odd things. The following stories are according to technicians employed by Mr. Rooter, an international plumbing and drain cleaning franchise.Warning: Some of the following images may be disturbing to some readers.When one North Carolina technician went to unclog a commode, they didn't expect to see the start of "Jurassic Park".They found the source of the clog, but this particular dinosaur may face extinction after where it's been.Jewelry often falls down the toilet at the most inconvenient time. Many people lose their class rings, and even their wedding rings.While working, an Ohio plumber found four class rings dating back to 1969. After discovering these, they researched who could be the owners and were able to contact the ring's owners and reunite them with their lost pieces of high school nostalgia.Speaking of jewelry, one Columbus, Ohio, technician was working on a customer's sewer line when the noticed something shiny fall out. This diamond ring, which belonged to the customer's daughter, was presumed lost when she placed it on the side of the sink nearly 10 years ago.The custom-made wedding band was a gift from a family member, so the ring's owner was glad to be reunited with the trinket.This is a story you can really sink your teeth into. A California customer once called to complain about a stoppage in his toilet. While looking through the pipes, the technician pulled out both upper and lower dentures."Oh that's where they went," the customer reportedly exclaimed.According to the technician, the customer had gotten sick the night before after drinking.Here was a job Brandy Waugh, co-owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Amarillo, Texas, described as "a nightmare on many levels."While repairing a customer's line, the technician discovered the tap was not located where the city claimed, but was, instead, under a neighbor's backyard. They had to dig up the neighbor's yard, where they encountered a wild collection of roots.Steady your stomach, as this story is a bit hairy.This plumber in Spokane, Washington, pulled out this 12-foot-long mass from a storm drainage pipe. It was the largest the company had ever seen.So find a plumber this April 25 and give him or her a pat on the back. It's a dirty job sometimes, but someone's gotta do it.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's been approximately half a year since the watershed #MeToo movement sparked in Hollywood and spread like wildfire, leaving almost no industry untouched as hundreds of women came forward with stories of sexual misconduct they have been subjected to in the workplace.In the aftermath of the new, post-#MeToo reality that has upended offices across the country, Good Morning America spoke to two generations of people in the workplace -- one group in their 20s and one in their 50s -- to hear how things have changed."I think we're creating them," Alexis, a young woman in her 20s, said of the new workplace rules. "Our society has made a decision to take off our blinders and re-evaluate what's acceptable in our culture.""We've had rules that have existed," Alexis added. "But I think we're deciding to make those more clear."Are compliments still allowed in the workplace?German, a teacher in his 50s, said sometimes he worries about how compliments that he gives at work can be misconstrued.At school, German said he saw a fellow teacher and noted her appearance. "I just passed by and said, 'Oh, you look beautiful,' because she looked beautiful," he said. "And then I said, 'Oh, what did I say?'"German added "you never know anymore" whether his compliment could be misconstrued as offensive.The younger group was, for the most part, more adamant that comments about one's appearance should not be a part of workplace banter."If you comment to my appearance at work, I don't agree with that," Padma, who is in her 20s, said. "Really, any comment you want to give me, I want it related to my work.""We don't have to talk about our physical appearances or how we think someone looks," Padma added. "There are other ways to relate."Noemie, also in her 20s, said compliments are acceptable at work as long as they are "friendly" and "never" cross the "line" past friendship.Robyn, in her 50s, however, said she believes compliments "are one of the things that create rapport.""Rapport is something that is really important to solidifying and improving human relationships," Robyn added.When the two groups came together to talk, the generational divide became more apparent."Do you really think people should not give compliments?" Robyn said.Padma said, "If you just meet someone or someone who is a manager or supervisor, I don't think that's appropriate."Rafael, who is in his 50s, responded, "Sometimes a compliment is just a compliment.""If somebody says, 'Nice shirt,' I just think I got on a nice shirt," Rafael said.Joanne Lipman, the author of That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know and Women Need to Tell Them About Working Together, said 20-somethings hold more anger over what they see as unfair."Younger people have an anger," Lipman said. "And particularly very young women -- there's an anger there about the injustice.""They're really focused on not just male versus female," Lipman added. "But they're looking at the double-bind -- the triple-bind -- that women face if they belong to another underrepresented group."They're highly focused on that in a way that older people are not."Do we have to renegotiate how we're all getting along?Andrew, in his 20s, said that as workplaces acclimatize to the new reality, "there will be tensions" and he believes "we have to go into this with an open mind.""As times change," Rafael, in his 50s, added, "things change, you have to change."Alan, also in his 50s, added that it doesn't mean you have to "give up" your "core values."Robyn chimed in that "change takes work."
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