#DeleteUber 2.0: ex-Uber engineer details sexual harassment

Uber app

Less than a month after users boycotted Uber due to CEO Travis Kalanick’s ties to US President Donald Trump, a former employee has sparked new outrage over a blog post detailing institutionalised sexism at the company.

Susan J. Fowler, now an engineer at online payment company Stripe, left Uber last December. She is but one of many female engineers who left the company after human resources (HR) allegedly refused to deal with the inherent sexism in the workplace.

In an essay posted Sunday, Fowler listed the many failings of both the HR department and the men she worked with.

Fowler says she became aware of the institutional sexism when a fellow engineer asked her to have sex and she reported it. HR claimed it was the offender’s first misdemeanor and let him off with a warning, but conversations with other women in the company proved that he had been reported many times before her.

A former Uber employee has detailed claims of sexual harassment and HR incompetence at the ride-sharing startup

Fowler goes on to note the multitude of sexist emails she forwarded to HR, the existence of which they apparently denied until she reminded them she had the records. Her persistence in reporting these acts led to a negative performance review, she claims, saying that HR refused to get into detail when asked where she went wrong.

“I kept pushing, until finally I was told that ‘performance problems aren’t always something that has to do with work, but sometimes can be about things outside of work or your personal life.’ I couldn’t decipher that, so I gave up and decided to stay until my next performance review,” she writes.

The review left her ineligible for the continuation of her scholarship at Stanford.

She notes that when she began, 25% of engineers were women. That number dropped to 3% by the time she left.

Chris Messina, another former Uber employee, tweeted that he had a similar experience with HR when he was there.

CEO Travis Kalanick has ordered an “urgent investigation” into the matter.

Despite Kalanick’s assurance, #DeleteUber has found its way back onto Twitter.

After the first bout of #DeleteUber tweets, US competitor Lyft donated US$1 million to the ACLU in support of immigrants. Others are encouraging current Uber users to make the switch.

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