In a particularly challenging year for Uber, the company behind the driver-for-hire app has terminated over 20 employees in an effort to deal with accusations of sexual harassment and other issues. On Tuesday, Uber made an internal announcement to its 12,000 employees about the decision, following a long list of complaints from former employees.
215 Workplace Incidents
According to reports, a total of 215 claims of workplace incidents have been filed against Uber. The breakdown of these complaints, in order of frequency, is as follows:
- Sexual harassment
- Unprofessional behavior
- Other types of harassment
- Physical security
- Wrongful termination
An internal investigation into these claims is currently underway. Since the investigation began, Uber has fired 20 employees, and another seven have received a final warning. According to the ride-hailing tech giant, 57 claims are still under review and no action is being taken in 100 of the claims. A Boston employment law attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve been a victim of workplace sexual harassment.
Blogging about Harassment
Most of the complaints originated in the company’s San Francisco headquarters, but complaints have come from Uber locations across the globe. Following former employee Susan Fowler’s claims on her blog that she experienced gender bias and sexual harassment while working for Uber, the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, launched the internal investigation.
The news of the firings is just the most recent in a string of scandals that have been plaguing Uber for months. Earlier this year, the company’s senior vice president of engineering was asked to resign when Uber discovered that he hadn’t disclosed past allegations of sexual harassment. Ed Baker, another Uber exec, left the company abruptly under unknown circumstances in March.
Technology Theft and Bad Business Practices
And that’s not all. Google’s self-driving car company, Waymo, has brought a lawsuit against Uber, accusing the company of stealing its technology. As a result, Anthony Levandowski, an Uber engineer who had previously worked for Google, was fired last month. Beyond the lawsuits and allegations of workplace misconduct, Uber is also battling an image of bad business practices, such as the use of a tool designed for the purpose of evading regulators.
Is Uber in Denial?
“(Fowler’s) blog shocked me,” said Liane Hornsey, the head of Uber’s HR. “But, what did surprise me, was when I did the listening sessions, this didn’t come up as an issue. It wasn’t one of our big themes. Other things came up that are in that area, that our values are masculine and a little aggressive, but the harassment issue, I just didn’t find that at all.” A MA employment law attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been harassed in the workplace.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Uber is far from the only company with sexual harassment issues. This type of inappropriate workplace behavior is actually quite common. A study of 500 respondents and 92 U.S. companies produced the following results:
- Approximately 54 percent (272) of respondents had been the victim of some type of workplace sexual harassment.
- Of those, 27 percent had experienced harassment by a colleague, and 17 percent were harassed by a
- Women made up the majority of harassment victims at 79 percent.
- Of those harassed, 12 percent claim to have received threats of termination if they refused the advances and requests of their harassers.