On the heels of a massive grassroots campaign that encouraged used to delete the Uber app in response to the company’s cynical ploy to cut surge pricing during the NYC taxi drivers solidarity strike with the anti-travel ban protests, a new controversy has emerged.
A recent blog post by Susan J. Fowler – a former site reliability engineer at Uber – lays out a strong condemnation of the company’s workplace culture, which she claims is rife with sexual harassment. Fowler describes intense sexist behavior from her colleagues from day one on the job, when her manager began aggressively requesting sex. After raising the issue with human resources, she was apparently told that she – and not the harasser – could likely be the source of conflict.
Additionally, Fowler describes an environment generally hostile to women. She details the sexist dismissal of her concerns:
When I asked our director at an org all-hands about what was being done about the dwindling numbers of women in the org compared to the rest of the company, his reply was, in a nutshell, that the women of Uber just needed to step up and be better engineers. (sic)
Travis Kalanick – who recently stepped down from a Trump economic advisory council in response to the backlash over the NYC taxi drivers strike imbroglio – has called the behavior detailed by Fowler “abhorrent,” and the firm has hired former Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the allegations and offer organizational solutions to endemic sexism.
The beginning of 2017 has been quite rough for Uber. With such irresponsible oversight and the clueless profiteering off of popular urban protests – precisely where the company’s market is based – one wonders if more surprises are in store in the coming months.