Uber launches investigation over sexual harassment claims

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Uber has selected a former law chief of the Obama administration to conduct an "independent" probe on sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims of a former software engineer. "He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn't", Fowler explained. Although the incident was reported to HR, the management was reluctant to punish him because it claimed it was his "first offence" and he was a "high performer", she wrote.

Ms. Fowler was told to either stay on the same team or get a bad performance review or apply for the transfer. "One HR rep even explicitly told me that it wouldn't be retaliation if I received a negative review later because I had been 'given an option, '" she wrote.

However, when she talked to other female engineers, she found that it was not the manager's first offense and that many women had similar stories.

Fowler also alleged that she was even threatened to be thrown out of the company by the management for raising her concerns.

"When I joined Uber, the organization I was part of was over 25% women".




It was the first instance of what she described as "one very, very odd year at Uber" in a blog post on Sunday. "There can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber", he tweeted.

"I was told that 'performance problems aren't always something that has to do with work, but sometimes can be about things outside of work or your personal life, '" Fowler wrote in the post. Kalanick added that this was the first time the issue had come to his attention, and that he has instructed Chief Human Resources Officer Liane Hornsey to conduct an urgent investigation. She also alleges that it was rare for the company to take action against any of the employees who were reported.

According to Fowler, she was told she could transfer to another team at Uber or continue working with the person she accused.

A major company being forced to release two bold public statements about major scandals in just three weeks is eyebrow-raising-and doesn't exactly bode well for Uber's future. Now an engineer with payment startup Stripe, Fowler reflected on what she described as a pattern of sexism as well as organizational chaos that prompted her and other women to leave. "He said that because there were so many men in the org, they had gotten a significant discount on the men's jackets but not on the women's jackets, and it wouldn't be equal or fair, he argued, to give the women leather jackets that cost a little more".

She said she sent reports to HR "every time something ridiculous happened, every time a sexist email was sent".

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