Susan Fowler Rigetti who is now a best-selling author and worked with Uber earlier alleged sexual harassment and discrimination by a manager in the company. The accused is a former engineering for UBERpool, the cab giant’s ride-sharing service.
These accusations were noticed by Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick who called them ‘abhorrent and against everything we believe in’. Thereafter, Kalanick ordered a new HR officer to conduct the investigation urgently.
Travis said, “There can be absolutely no place for this kind of behaviour at Uber. Anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired”.
Ariana Huffington, who was the founder of Huffingtonpost said she would aide the new HR officer in the investigation.
Fowler’s lengthy post was titled ‘Reflecting on One Very Strange Year at Uber’. It mentions that she was sexually encountered by the manager the first day she joined the office. The abuser, who has not been named yet said, he was in an open relationship with another girl; however, that girl found it easier to get partners than him.
The manager continued, explaining that he doesn’t want to mix this issue with his work life as he might end up with problems; however, he found that difficult since he was ‘trying to find women for sex’.
Susan said that she joined the company to work as a ‘site reliability engineer’ back in late 2015. A point worth noting here is that when she joined, 20% employees in the company were women, however, when she left, only 3% were left. This was perhaps her attempt to explain the negative ecosystem of the company towards their women employees.
She added that this incident was reported to the HR department, but all they did was ‘talk to him’ about it. The reason could be his high performance in general. Both the Human Resource officials and his superiors thought of it as a minor first mistake.
The report says that this incident was not the first instance of misconduct by the accused and many other female co-workers had reported the same. Even more, he was not the only one to do so in that office.
Adding insult to injury, the HR attending the case left Fowler with 2 choices – either to change the department or interact less with her abuser. The same HR clearly mentioned that if she gets a negative review for reporting the man, it ‘wouldn’t be retaliation’ simply because she chose to stay in the team.