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Ex-Uber employee describes rampant sexism, harassment at company

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement that he instructed the company's new chief human resources officer to conduct an "urgent investigation" into the allegations. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION New Delhi Feb 20, 2017, 05.38 AM (IST)

One former Uber employee from the United States has written a post describing her "very, very strange year" working with the company, and how sexism forced her to leave.

Susan J Fowler describes receiving unwanted sexual advances from her manager. She documented it, then submitted a complaint to HR, but HR did nothing to stop it.

Far from. They gave her an ultimatum: Either change teams, or not be shocked to receive a bad review from the manager who asked her to have sex with him. Upper management told her the man in question was a "high performer" and they didn't feel comfortable giving more than a stern warning because it was supposedly his "first offence".

Fowler says the situation got more "comically absurd" each day, and she describes how sexism impacted her work appraisal. Fowler claims that when she joined, Uber employees were 25 per cent female, a figure which dropped to six per cent a year later.

In response, on Sunday evening Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement that he instructed the company's new chief human resources officer to conduct an "urgent investigation" into the allegations. 

Uber has been accused of sexism before, after Kalanick made a joke about women-on-demand ("Yeah, we call that Boob-er") in a widely-circulated GQ profile from 2014.

Almost a year ago, the company downplayed the significance of leaked internal data published by Buzzfeed claiming that thousands of customers have used the word "rape" and "sexual assault" in a formal complaint, with Uber responding at the time that it received only "five" complaints alleging rape and between December 2012 and August 2015 received 170 complains with a "legitimate claim of sexual assault".

Uber claimed: "Riders routinely misspell 'rate' (as in the fare) as 'rape', or use the word 'rape' in another context. For example, 'you raped my wallet'."

(WION)

 

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