Fresh on the heels of the #DeleteUber hashtag went viral, Susan Fowler, a woman working for Uber from November 2015 to December 16, has revealed her alleged experiences of sexual harassment and discrimination while she worked at the ride-sharing company.
Following the report, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick ordered an “urgent investigation” into Fowler’s accusations. Also, Kalanick promises to fire anyone who allowed for the sexual harassment to occur at the company.
Fowler, who worked as a site reliability engineer at Uber, said that on her first day at work her manager sexually harassed her.
“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,” Fowler explained. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in
“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.”
Fowler then took screenshots of the messages and told Uber’s Human Resources department. However, she was told “Even though this was clearly sexual harassment,” it was his “first offense.” As a result, the HR department said, “they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to.”
Fowler explained HR told her she could transfer to a different team or stay on the same team as the manager that sexually harassed her. However, HR told her if she did stay, to expect him to give her a “poor performance review.”
Fowler then explained, “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.’”
Fowler learned that the manager had done the same thing with other women but, the HR department told all of the women he would not get disciplined because it was his “first offense.”
Fowler added that the company is a “game-of-thrones political war” within the company undergoing “complete, unrelenting chaos.”
Fowler also explained another incident where she a manager discriminated her and other women working at Uber. Uber ordered over a hundred jackets for men, but none for women because only six employees were working at the company. Managers told the women if they wanted a leather jacket, then they would have to “to find jackets that were the same price as the bulk order price of the men’s jackets.”
Fowler explained throughout her experiences at Uber she continued to show “proof” to the company’s HR department including emails and screenshots. Ultimately, an HR rep suggested that Fowler was “the common theme” in all the reports. However, Fowler said Uber never documented a single complaint she had with the company. Also, HR told her she was on “very thin ice” for reporting his manager to HR. As a result, Fowler contacted the Chief Technology Officer, but the company did not do anything because the manager was reportedly a “higher performer.”
Fowler ultimately left the job.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has ordered an investigation into the sexual harassment and discrimination complaints calling them “abhorrent and against everything we believe in.”