Uber’s had a rough 2017 but the worst might be yet to come when the board meets Sunday in Los Angeles to review the findings of an internal investigation. Led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, the investigation focused on Uber’s toxic company culture that was blown wide open by an explosive blog post from a former employee in February.
Tech news website Recode reported Saturday that Uber’s seven-member board would review the findings that could result in resignations from people at the top of the massive ride-hailing company.
On Sunday, it also came to light that embattled CEO Travis Kalanick could be taking a three-month leave of absence. Additionally, Uber’s chief business officer, Emil Michael, will resign on Monday, reported the Wall Street Journal. Michael was the one who in 2014 suggested that Uber dig up dirt on journalists looking into the company’s practices.
The investigation into company culture, performed by Holder’s law firm, Perkins Coie LLP, was called for by Kalanick after a blog post by engineer Susan Fowler described a soul-crushing experience where her manager wanted to have sex with her, and when she reported the situation to HR, it was essentially ignored because her manager was a “high performer.” She charitably titled her post, “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber.”
Uber’s Had a Very Bad 2017
Also in February, a video was released of Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver on Super Bowl Sunday. In May, Uber admitted it short-changed, by tens of millions of dollars, and its drivers in New York would repay them. Also this year, Uber was caught using a secret in-app tool called “greyball,” that helped it evade cops and competitors in areas where the ride-sharing service was not legally allowed to operate. Last week, Eric Alexander, the company’s president of Asia business, was fired after it came out that he obtained medical records of a woman in India who was raped by her driver. Also last week, Uber told its staff that it fired 20 people in the last few months over terrible behavior in its workplace. In January, the #deleteuber campaign took off on social media over the company’s pricing during a taxi driver’s strike related to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, during which time it was perceived that Uber had tried to capitalize on the strike.
Uber is expected to release at least some — an executive summary, perhaps — of the report publicly, though it remains possible that the entire report could be put online. Recode reports that Uber’s staff will see the report on Tuesday.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the investigation will call for new HR processes, primarily.
Mr. Holder’s report includes recommendations for new human-resource processes and trainings and details allegations by current and former employees about inappropriate behavior at Uber including sexual harassment, retaliation, bullying and other matters, people familiar with the matter said.
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