Uber reportedly fires 20 employees amid sexual harassment investigation

Lena Tucker
June 7, 2017

Uber has fired 20 employees in recent months as part of a wide-ranging investigation of the climate and culture at the popular ride-hailing service, the company said Tuesday.

The terminations follow an investigation carried out by the law firm Perkins Coie in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment made by Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer who published a viral account of sexual harassment and discrimination at the company.

Following Fowler's blog, Uber hired former United States attorney general Eric Holder to investigate its handling of sexual harassment allegations, according to the New York Times.

In her post, Fowler alleged that she was propositioned for sex on her first day on the job, was repeatedly blocked from advancement, and found Uber's human resources department unwilling to take action on sexual harassment claims she and other female employees filed. Bobbie Wilson, a Perkins Coie partner based in San Francisco, made the presentation at the staff meeting Tuesday. It's also suffered a flurry of departures by senior executives, including heads of finance, growth, engineering, and policy and communications.

Uber, which by now is no stranger to controversy and questionable business practices, is in the midst of a widespread internal investigation into what many have derided as an aggressive, unhealthy, sexist, and generally toxic work culture. The company is now looking for a chief financial officer and a chief operating officer as it considers an initial public offering. Uber was rocked by the allegations in February.

"Boz has a long track record of successfully creating emotional connections between people and the products they love", Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement. At a staff meeting on Tuesday, employees were notified that 215 harassment claims had been investigated.

In late May, Uber's human-resources chief in an interview had said sexual harassment wasn't a problem for the company. It was not immediately clear who was among those fired, or what their roles were. The company also revealed plans to expand its employee relations unit to better investigate claims and improve the management training program at the company, since most of the Uber managers were first-time bosses.

The reports were given to independent board member Arianna Huffington, to HR managers or via a hotline set up by Uber.

Uber also was accused by Alphabet for stealing files containing trade secrets from its self-driving auto division Waymo.

Saint John joined Apple in April 2014 as head of global consumer marketing for iTunes and Beats Music.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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