Uber fires 20 employees as fallout from sexual harassment investigation

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick kicked off a sexual harassment investigation in February after a female engineer said that institutional sexism at the ride-hailing company had forced her to quit her job.

fallout from that probe has resulted in the firing of 20 workers, and more may be on the way. That’s according to Bloomberg News, which cited an anonymous source. The law firm of Perkins Coie is reviewing 215 sexual harassment claims. Uber has about 12,000 employees.

Bloomberg said that 31 employees have been placed in sexual harassment “counseling or training,” while a handful of others have been warned about their conduct.

The investigation was launched after Susan Fowler, who had been a site-reliability engineer, wrote on her blog:

On my first official day rotating on the team, 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. 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.

She said the human resources department of the San Francisco-based company didn’t take her complaint seriously.

Uber did not immediately comment. Last month, Uber’s head of human resources, Lianne Hornsey, said sexual harassment wasn’t an “issue” within the company. She told USA Today that Fowler’s “blog shocked me” and that she conducted “listening sessions” with employees in the wake of Fowler’s blog post.

“It wasn’t one of our big themes. Other things came up that are in that area, that our values are masculine and a little aggressive, but the harassment issue, I just didn’t find that at all,” she said.

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