On Sunday, Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, announced an investigation after sexism accusations in the workplace went public. The announce came after a former engineer claimed the poor performance of managers and human resources (HR) in the company.
Kalanick proceeded to announce a new HR manager and assured the investigation will be assisted by Uber’s board member, Ariana Huffington, and General US Attorney Eric Holder.
Not such a good time for Uber.
Uber is giving a lot to talk recently. Last month millions of people deleted the app after the company decided to suspend surge pricing during a taxi strike at JFK in protest of President Trump’s immigration ban.
The crow’s discomfort grew when Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, attended a panel of economic advisors to Trump back in December. It all lead to the viral hashtag #DeleteUber.
Now Susan Fowler, a former employee, described in a blog post her experience in the tech giant. In the post, the former Uber engineer addressed sexism and impunity in the organization as well as HR incompetence.
— MacGyver the Lizard (@MacGyverLizard) January 30, 2017
Not a very good workplace…at all.
Susan Fowler Rigetti, recently she described in a blog post her experience in the tech giant Uber. Fowler joined the company in November 2015, and she said that her experience was “strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying.”
“My new manager sent me a string of messages over a company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble because he was looking for women to have sex with.”
“It was clear that [my new manager] was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.”
Sexism in so many levels.
Fowler then denounced the poor management of HR by saying, “Upper management told me that [that manager] ‘was a high performer’ (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.”
That’s not even the worst part, Fowler also claimed that she discussed with other women the situation and they got to the conclusion that, “it became obvious that both HR and management had been lying about this being ‘his first offense,’ and it certainly wasn’t his last.” Not only she claimed her manager sexual harassed her, but when she denounced the situation at HR they gave him total impunity. Former Uber employees also claimed having an unsupportive experience with HR and sympathized with Fowler.
This is outrageous and awful. My experience with Uber HR was similarly callous & unsupportive; in Susan's case, it was reprehensible. 😡👎🏻 https://t.co/eSiOuHSMjU
— Chris Messina 🦅 (@chrismessina) February 19, 2017
DIsfunctional and antipathetic environment to women.
Fowler also talked about the company’s lack of organization and disharmony in terms of performance. “Projects were deserted left and right, nobody knew what organizational priorities would be one day to a next, and really tiny ever got done,” she wrote.
She remembered a weird partial in which the female member staff didn’t receive some promised leather jackets because there were not enough women to fill the order. She said “He pronounced that since there were so many groups in an org, they had gotten a poignant bonus on a men’s jackets yet not on a women’s jackets, and it wouldn’t be equal or fair, he argued, to give a women leather jackets that cost a tiny some-more than a men’s jackets.”
Opening an investigation.
After Fowler’s post, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick commented about it by saying, “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 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.”
US Attorney General Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran, partners at law firm Covington & Burling, will independently investigate the workplace issues Fowler spoke about in her blog post. Uber board member Ariana Huffington is also joining the investigation. Huffington joined the company in January and asked people to email her directly about the matter.
Just talked w/ Travis & as a representative of Uber's Board I will work w/Liane to conduct a full independent investigation starting now 1/2
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) February 20, 2017
You can email me directly: email@example.com 2/2
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) February 20, 2017
Time to open up about the numbers.
Uber has a certain reputation for bullying, much of it thanks to its CEO Travis Kalanick. Kalanick is not everybody’s favorite billionaire, in fact, in 2014 he gained some reputation after a joke about women-on-demand that upset many people, he said, “Yeah, we call that Boob-er.”
Uber remains as one on the few tech giants that don’t reveal its diversity numbers, after this scandal, we guess that’s about to change.
Kalanick will meet Rev. Jesse Jackson later this month to discuss diversity initiatives.