After a recent internal investigation, popular rideshare startup Uber terminated more than 20 of its employees. Some of these employees were senior-level executives. The terminations were followed by a deliberate culture change within the company, which had been accused of fostering a sexist, toxic work environment.
The investigation came after a former Uber employee wrote a blog post detailing the company’s alleged failure to respond to sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims. In the post, she alleged that she was once propositioned for sex from a supervisor and that when this type of behavior was reported, the company chose not to take action. The following investigation found that of the 215 claims filed by the company, 100 did not require further action.
Ramifications of the Harassment and Terminations
Firing 20 employees, particularly those in upper management, has an extreme effect on a company. At Uber, the email employees received shortly after the investigation also brought significant changes to the company in terms of new cultural standards and expectations for employees. After the investigation brought the status of 215 claims to light, 31 employees at the company entered training or counseling. It is not impossible for an individual to relearn how to behave in the workplace and relate to others. Sometimes, it requires professional aid and helps for the individual to work on his or her own psychological issues.
Along with the terminations came a few high-profile resignations, including its Vice President of Finance, its President, and a key executive involved in the legal battle between Uber and Google regarding self-driving technology.
Uber can face external ramifications from the investigation as well. News stories about harassment and other harmful behaviors can sway the public’s opinion of a company, which can lead to more bad publicity, dwindling use of the service, and lowered stock values.
Types of Harassment Claims Faced by Uber
Sexual harassment claims were not the only type of claim filed at Uber. Employees had also filed retaliation claims and discrimination claims against the company.
The original blog post that spurred the investigation alleged quid pro quo sexual harassment, which occurs when a supervisor requests sexual contact in exchange for favorable treatment. Sexual harassment can also mirror other types of harassment, which can involve inappropriate, invasive questions, unwanted contact, and offensive remarks directed at an individual or group of employees. Gender discrimination, another of the alleged actions that occurred at Uber, is the act of discriminating against employees for promotion, hiring, and treatment within the workplace due to their gender.
Work with an Experienced New York Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Sexual harassment in the workplace is never acceptable. If you are facing sexual harassment at work, get help filing and pursuing your sexual harassment claim with one of the experienced employment lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. Contact our firm today to set up your initial consultation in our Queens office, during which we can answer any questions you have and discuss the next steps for your case.