After former engineer posts allegations of inequity, Uber promises to respond ⋆ Epeak . Independent news and blogs
Having your corporate culture examined for evidence of gender inequity is not a hassle Uber needs at any time — but especially not as its hopes of seeing its ride-hailing services expand into upstate New York seem tantalizingly close to fruition.
The company reacted quickly to Sunday’s posting of a long account by former San Francisco-based Uber engineer Susan Fowler, who chronicled what she describes as a series of instances of sexual harassment, gender bias, more generalized poor management and outright dishonesty by the company’s human resources apparatus.
Her account begins with her description of receiving what a thinly veiled proposition by her manager not long after starting in the fall of 2015. “When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man’s first offense, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to,” Fowler writes.
She later learned that the same manager had been the subject of previous complaints — and a subsequent one that she said had been described to his alleged victim as the manager’s first offense.
Fowler goes on to claim that her performance reviews were ultimately sullied by unexplained citations of problems that were either undocumented or simply unexplained. She recently left the company.
Within hours of Fowler’s post going live — and quickly going viral — Uber CEO Travis Kalanick responded with a statement:
“I have just read Susan Fowler’s blog. What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in. It’s the first time this has come to my attention so I have instructed Liane Hornsey our new Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. We seek to make Uber a just workplace FOR EVERYONE and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber — and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired.”