A former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, has published a full blown account of ignored sexual harassment by her manger. According to her story, the harassment started from her first official day at Uber. Apparently, Susan left the company in December and she now works at Stripe.
“After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR”, she stated.
Just like any human would expect, she thought HR would do something about it quickly, but things turned out differently as “they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to. Upper management told me that he “was a high performer”
She was then given two options: to either find another team which would cause her to never interact with the man again, or to stay on the team, and then deal with the fact that he would most likely give her a poor performance review when review time came around. She joined a new team and she met other women on the team and surprisingly, they had the same experience with this same man and HR had done nothing about it.
Her account of her time at the company also includes efforts by her managers to undermine her sense of reality and accomplishment. She says glowing performance reviews were later altered to justify holding her back from promotion, and keep her from transferring to other parts of the organization.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick provided a statement on this, “I have just read Susan Fowler’s blog. What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in. It’s the first time this has come to my attention so I have instructed Liane Hornsey our new Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. We seek to make Uber a just workplace and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired.”
This incident and possibly others like it have given Uber another issue to think about, especially coming weeks after Kalanick’s placement on Trump’s economic advisory board and the #DeleteUber campaign. The pressure brought to bear resulted in 200,000 people reportedly deleting their account.