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A former employee accuses Uber of ignoring reports of sexual harassment, CEO opens investigation

Avatar Written by Maheen Kanwal · 1 min read>
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A former Uber Engineer has accused the company of sexual harassment, discrimination and negligence of the HR in this regard. Uber’s CEO has taken notice of the incident and has launched an urgent investigation into the matter.

Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer, made explosive revelations about the company in her blog post yesterday. The accusations claimed that the harassment started on the very first day after her training when a superior tried to solicit her in a string of chat messages. She sent the screenshots of the thread to the HR but they told her that the superior was a high-performer and “they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.”

Ms. Fowler was told to either stay on the same team or get a bad performance review or apply for the transfer. She tried her luck there but then transferred to another team where she heard the stories of multiple offenses from other women. She wrote,

“When I joined Uber, the organization I was part of was over 25% women. By the time I was trying to transfer to another eng organization, this number had dropped down to less than 6%. Women were transferring out of the organization, and those who couldn’t transfer were quitting or preparing to quit. There were two major reasons for this: there was the organizational chaos, and there was also the sexism within the organization. When I asked our director at an org all-hands about what was being done about the dwindling numbers of women in the org compared to the rest of the company, his reply was, in a nutshell, that the women of Uber just needed to step up and be better engineers.”

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, commenting on the matter, said,

“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.”

This is not the first time that Uber has been accused of harassment and sexism. The company lost its license in India for an alleged rape case in 2015. After starting its operations in Pakistan, the ride-hailing company received multiple complaints from passengers in Lahore and Karachi about the rude behavior of the drivers.

Written by Maheen Kanwal
Maheen Kanwal is a Tech Journalist at TechJuice. She covers the latest technological, telecom and business related, local & global news. (Reach at maheen@techjuice.pk) Profile