Uber fires more than 20 staff after harassment investigation


An Uber carImage copyright Justin Sullivan/Getty

Uber has reportedly fired more than 20 people after a company investigation of harassment claims.

The taxi-app firm has been under fire over its treatment of women in the workplace since earlier this year, when a former employee wrote a scathing blog post about her experience.

The post prompted two investigations.

Bloomberg and other US media first reported the firings, which they said were revealed at a company meeting on Tuesday.

Uber did not respond to a request for comment immediately.

The firm has struggled with a series of controversies in recent months, including a backlash related to its aggressive corporate culture and a lawsuit from Google-owner Alphabet over allegedly stolen technology for self-driving cars.

Several high-placed executives have resigned amid the turbulence, including a former head of engineering, who had failed to disclose harassment complaints at his former employer.

Chief executive Travis Kalanick’s filmed argument with an Uber driver over falling rates also fuelled criticism, leading him to say that he needed “leadership help”.

Susan Fowler, who wrote the critical blog post about Uber, said the company had ignored her complaints of sexual harassment. Widely shared, the blog prompted Mr Kalanick to launch an investigation.

Does Silicon Valley have a sexism problem?

Uber’s mess reaches beyond sexism – and Silicon Valley

Bloomberg reported that the law firm Perkins Coie investigated 215 claims, including harassment and discrimination, and took no action in 100 of them. The attorney leading that investigation did not respond to a request for comment.

Bloomberg said some of the people fired included senior executives.

Uber also tapped Eric Holder, who served as attorney general under former US president Barack Obama, to investigate the company’s broader culture.

View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40179472

Uber employs more than 12,000 people globally. About 36% of the workforce is female, according to a diversity report the firm published earlier this year. Women hold about 15% of the technology positions.

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