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Uber fires 20 employees as part of sexual harassment probe

Uber fires 20 employees as part of sexual harassment probe


200 claims of inappropriate conduct investigated

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Uber has fired more than 20 employees as part of its investigation into sexual harassment claims at the company, according to Bloomberg. Employees were told at an all-hands meeting at Uber’s San Francisco headquarters about the terminations.

An outside law firm that was retained to investigate claims of sexism and harassment at Uber gave the report today at the meeting, Bloomberg reports. The investigation uncovered over 200 reports of inappropriate conduct, like harassment, bias, bullying, discrimination, and retaliation. Half of the reported incidents were dismissed with no action taken, while 31 employees are in training or counseling, and seven were handed written warnings. Fifty-seven cases are still being investigated.

The company has been operating under a cloud since February, when Susan Fowler, a former engineer, published her account of rampant sexism and harassment. Fowler’s story went viral, and since then other engineers have since corroborated her description of Uber’s toxic workplace. In the weeks that followed, multiple top-level executives have left — either because they were fired or on their own accord.

Uber retained ex-US Attorney General Eric Holder and his colleague Tammy Albarran to investigate its workplace culture. But according to Bloomberg, today’s meeting was focused on the findings of a separate law firm, Perkins Coie LLP, that was hired to look into Fowler’s specific allegations. Holder and Albarran’s full report was delivered to Uber’s board last week, but the release of its findings could be delayed because of the recent death of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s mother in a boating accident.

We’ve reached out to Uber for comment and we’ll update this story when we hear back. But at least one Uber employee took today’s news about the terminations with surprising aplomb. (She has since deleted this tweet.)

Melanie Ensign / Twitter

Update, June 6th, 2017, 2:59 am ET: A source with knowledge of today’s all-hands meeting confirmed the numbers that were first reported by Bloomberg, adding that not all the cases reported in the Perkins Coie investigation were related to sexual harassment. Some were related to bullying, retaliation, discrimination, and other instances of inappropriate behavior.

The firm’s report will factor into to Holder and Albarran’s larger investigation into Uber’s cultural problems, which will include recommendations for how the ride-hail giant can prevent future cases of harassment and discrimination from occurring. That report is expected to be delivered to Uber board member Arianna Huffington next week.

A spokesperson for Uber declined to comment.