Uber Begins Housecleaning with Firing of 20 Employees

Uber Technologies Inc has fired 20 employees, including some senior executives, following a probe by a law firm into sexual harassment allegations and other workplace misconduct claims.

Law firm Perkins Coie LLP led the investigation Uber sexual harassment investigation, reviewing more than 200 human-resources claims. The law firm took no action in 100 allegations and is still probing 57 others. Here is a breakdown of the sexual harassment investigation –

7 written warnings. 20 pink slips. 31 employees in counseling or training. 57 cases still open. 100 instances with no action taken. 215 workplace-misconduct claims, including sexual harassment, discrimination, bias, bullying, and retaliation.

Perkins Coie did not reveal the names of those who were fired, the sources close to the matter revealed.

Law firm Perkins Coie LLP was hired after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler last year alleged that the company’s human resources department systematically ignored her reports of sexual misconduct during the year she worked for the company.


Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is embroiled in a series of public blunders, including being caught on video arguing with an Uber driver. (Image: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick at GES Opening Plenary on June 23, 2016)

Uber’s Culture Meltdown

Uber board member Arianna Huffington said Uber’s workplace culture issues weren’t “systemic.” Meanwhile, human resources chief Liane Hornsey said she was shocked by Fowler’s sexual harassment allegations.

On Tuesday, Susan Fowler tweeted sarcastically saying “Arianna and Liane to press: there is no systemic sexual harassment, just Susan. External lawyers: there are 215 cases of sexual harassment”

Several former and present Uber employees have come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment at work. Uber has set up an anonymous hotline where staff could file complaints of workplace misconduct. A majority of the more than 200 claims were made through the hotline.

Uber Pledges To Fix Toxic Workplace Culture

Uber is knee deep in muddy waters. It has suffered a flurry of executive departures, including heads of communications, finance, growth engineering, product, and its self-driving division. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is embroiled in a series of public blunders, including being caught on video arguing with an Uber driver. Several weeks ago he conceded he needs leadership help and has so far been successful with two prominent hires.

This week, Harvard Business School’s Frances Frei joined the company as its SVP of leadership and strategy to help Kalanick clean up the mess. Bozoma Saint John, the former head of marketing for iTunes and Apple Music will join the company as its chief branding officer.

Meanwhile, the results of a separate probe commissioned by Uber Technologies Inc is being led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have been reviewed by members of Uber board. The findings of the probe will soon be made public. Uber plans to take immediate action on some of the report’s findings.

Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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