Is Uber safe? Uber employees, not just riders, may be asking this today as the ridesharing startup just fired more than 20 people for sexual harassment and related hostile work environment claims, the company told employees Tuesday afternoon (June 6).
Law firm Perkins Coie LLP reviewed 215 human resources claims related to harassment, discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment and other human resources issues going back as far as 2012. This resulted in seven written warnings from the company to employees and 31 employees being placed in counseling or training at the Silicon Valley tech company.
Perkins Coie took no action on 100 instances, while 57 remain under investigation.
Meanwhile, a second investigation led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has given its reports to a subcommittee of Uber’s board of directors.
Uber Technologies Inc. launched the parallel investigations after a former employee’s blog post spread word of sexual harassment and gender discrimination and broader discrimination within the company.
Former software programmer Susan Fowler wrote in February that her manager had propositioned her for sex, but human resources had not taken her reports seriously. Fowler was told that her manager was a “high performer” and it would hurt his career to be disciplined for his “innocent mistake.” Fowler left the company.
After Fowler’s post went viral, Uber brought Perkins Coie and Holder on board. The company did not release names of those who were fired, so it is unclear at this time whether Fowler’s alleged harasser got his comeuppance.
The carsharing startup did, however, ask for the resignation of its newly hired head of software engineering Amit Singhal after learning of an unresolved sexual harassment claim lodged against him at his former place of employment, Google. Singhal left Uber in late February.
The Silicon Valley ridesharing startup has now told staff that it will expand its employee relations unit to address future claims. Moreover, the company says it will try to head off those claims at the pass by providing more management training, since most Uber managers have never been bosses before.