A former Uber engineer has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination in the latest controversy to surround the company, particularly on issues around the treatment of women at the firm.
The allegations from Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer, were revealed via a blog post written by the former Uber employee detailing the instances that occurred during her time as an employee at the company.
“What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in,”
”“We seek to make Uber a just workplace FOR EVERYONE 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.”
Kalanick has also instructed Liane Hornsey, Uber’s new chief HR officer, to investigate the allegations as a matter of urgency.
Fowler wrote that shortly after joining the company, her new manager made sexual advances towards her by sending her a series of messages over the company chat.
“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,”
“I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man’s first offense, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to.”
According to Fowler, she was told to find another team or stay in her position, with the understanding that the manager would likely give her a poor performance review:
“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 also claims that out of over 150 people on the site reliability engineer teams, only three per cent were women.
Unlike other Silicone Valley residents Google, Apple and Facebook, Uber chooses to refuse to disclose diversity figures at the company.
Fowler now works at payments company Stripe, also based in San Francisco.