In response to complaints of systemic problems with harassment and discrimination, Uber has fired 20 employees, including some senior executives. The company has also disciplined others and is still investigating additional complaints. This is a major shakeup at Uber, a ride sharing service based in California, that comes shortly after the company received a report from a team of lawyers who reviewed its workplace climate.
Uber hired this team of lawyers, led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, amid complaints from some Uber employees that the company prized aggressive growth so much that it would look the other way when some employees engaged in harassment or discrimination. Uber hired another law firm, Perkins Coie, to assist with the problem as well and that firm has been investigating individuals’ complaints. Perkins Coie has investigated 215 complaints and about 100 of those resulted in actions taken against employees for sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination. There are still complaints under investigation.
The problems at Uber are not unique to Uber. Harassment, in particular, is an epidemic in American workplaces. Far too many workers face problems with sexual harassment, racial harassment, and other forms of unlawful harassment. As we’ve previously reported, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) formed a task force that heard from a variety of experts on how to address this epidemic. The EEOC issued a report that provides a variety of recommendations for preventing harassment and changing workplace cultures that permit harassment to occur.