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Uber Sexual Harassment Investigation Exposes Widespread Issues

Emanuel Shirazi

A few months ago we reported on the abhorrent sexual harassment claims that Susan Fowler made against the upper management of Uber, a popular ride-share service. The claims were made public when Fowler decided to post them to her personal blog. Fowler believes the reason the company went from being 25 percent female to only 3 percent female (in just over a year) was that the work environment was toxic, particularly for female employees.

Fowler’s blog post prompted CEO Travis Kalanick to hire a large law firm to launch the investigation. Not only did they investigate claims of sexual harassment, but also those of bullying, discrimination, and retaliation. 

Here are the results of the investigation:

  1. The law firm investigated a total of 215 worker complaints filed by employees since 2012.
  2. 100 of the complaints resulted in no further action.
  3. 31 of the complaints resulted in providing additional employee training.
  4. 7 of the complaints prompted final warnings.
  5. 20 of the claims resulted in termination.
  6. 57 complaints still remain under investigation.

If Uber wasn’t under enough scrutiny as of late, an inappropriate company email that the CEO sent to a hundred of employees back in 2013 was recently obtained and made public by Recode. In the email, Kalanick instructed his employees not to have sex with other employees during the Miami company outing unless:  1/you asked permission and they gave an “emphatic YES”, 2/you did not both work in the same “chain of command”.

Does this confirm that the gender discrimination and sexual harassment problem in Silicon Valley are widespread?

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