On Sunday, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti published a post on her blog entitled “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber.” On her first day working on her new team at Uber, Rigetti says, her manager sent her a string of messages propositioning her on the company chat. She says she took screenshots of the conversations, and brought them to Uber’s HR department, saying she expected the matter would be handled quickly and appropriately. And from her account, it was not.
Regetti writes that she was told her manager was a “high performer” and that this was a first offense, but she says she heard later from other women in the company that they had complained about the same employee.
The blog post comes at a time when Uber has already been under fire — and at the center of a consumer boycott. Earlier this year a campaign began on social media encouraging people to #DeleteUber after CEO Travis Kalanick joined President Trump’s economic council. The movement picked up steam when Uber lowered its prices during a taxi strike at New York City’s JFK airport.
The strike was in protest of Trump’s executive order on immigration, and to many critics it appeared that Uber was taking advantage of the situation for profit, though Uber denies that. Kalanick ultimately resigned from Trump’s economic council, saying his joining the group was not meant to signal “an endorsement of the President or his agenda” but “unfortunately was taken that way.”
Tweets with the hashtag #DeleteUber began flowing again after Rigetti’s blog post was published, and quickly went viral. But this time, the response from Uber was swift and unequivocal.
Kalanick tweeted out Rigetti’s blog post Monday with the comment, “What’s described here is abhorrent & against everything we believe in. Anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired.” Kalanick added that this was the first time the issue had come to his attention, and that he has instructed Chief Human Resources Officer Liane Hornsey to conduct an urgent investigation.
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