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Sexual harassment tolerated at Uber, says former employee


The popular ride-hailing service Uber has swept through New York and across the nation as a safe way to get from here to there without having to use other modes of public transportation, such as taxi-cabs, buses and subways. The Silicon Valley company has enjoyed incredible growth, emphasizing "meritocracy" -- getting the best results at any cost. As of right now, Uber is worth nearly $70 billion. However, some workers at Uber claim the culture at the workplace is unrestrained and sometimes hostile.

Some Uber employees have stated that the company ignores workplace violations made by top performers. For example, one Uber manager fondled a female worker's breasts. A director hurled a homophobic phrase at another worker. Another manager made threats to physically harm another worker with a baseball bat for underperforming.

Many of these incidents flew under the radar until a former Uber engineer wrote a post on her personal blog about the sexual harassment and discrimination she suffered while working at Uber. She claimed the company's human resources department failed to appropriately respond to the incidents. She described the culture at Uber as one in which every manager was trying to undermine other workers and even their higher-ups in an effort to climb the corporate ladder. Moreover, these actions were not only tolerated, but were even bragged about.

Since that blog post was written, Uber's chief executive has started an internal investigation into the incidents. He also issued an apology to Uber workers for the company's hostile work environment and pledged to make things better. There are also three lawsuits pending against the company regarding verbal abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination should never be tolerated in the workplace. Unfortunately, incidents like this are all-too-common, whether at a major corporation such as Uber or a small, locally owned business. Those in New York who believe they have been subject to unlawful harassment may want to discuss the matter with an attorney, so they can better understand their rights and options.

Source: The New York Times, "Inside Uber's Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture," Mike Isaac, Feb. 22, 2017

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