World renowned ride hailing service Uber is finding itself in hot waters after a former engineer has come out with a grave insight into the company’s work culture.
According to a blog post published recently, former site engineer Susan J. Fowler revealed that the company had turned a deaf ear towards a number of reports of sexual harassment and has been involved in, what may be termed, bordering at criminal human resource policies.
According to Fowler, from the very onset of her training, in a company chat thread she had been made sexual passes upon by a senior. Fowler took screenshots of the chat and reported the case to Human Resources for appropriate action. The HR not only ignored her case but also took an extremely lopsided stance that since the accused was a high performer, the company would ‘feel bad’ taking any sort of action against him. The human resources department further went on to advise Fowler to forget the incident since the accused probably just ‘made an innocent mistake’.
Fowler further said that after she had reported the incident, she was faced with two choices put forth before her, i.e. leaving that particular team to join another one or to stay in her current team and have to suffer from a poor performance review at the hands of the same man she had reported against.
In her blog – gone viral over the internet, Fowler mentioned many other incidents that reveal not only extreme sexual harassment, but are also a reflection of the sexist culture that seems rampant in most Silicon Valley projects. Interestingly, the blogpost has been a trigger for many other females who have come forward over media with personal stories of gender based harassment in the corporate environment. However, Fowler’s case isn’t the only report of sexual harassment that has arisen regarding the company. Previously, many Uber officials have repeatedly been criticized for lack of interest in passenger safety, privacy violations and many other serious allegations as well. But most of these complains either get lost with time, get settled quietly or just get ignored even though many still do crop up on a day to day basis.
Uber CEO, Travis Kalancik, said that this is the first time this or any other incident of harassment had come to his notice. He said that the company would be launching an investigation into fowler’s claims because there is no place for such a culture at Uber.