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Uber senior executive resigns after racial discrimination allegations

Uber senior executive resigns after racial discrimination allegations


HR chief Liane Hornsey leaves after claims that she threatened several prominent employees of color

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Uber’s human resources chief Liane Hornsey resigned from the company following an internal investigation into her handling of allegations of racial discrimination at the ride-hailing giant, including some claims of discrimination against Hornsey herself, Reuters reports.

The resignation came after an anonymous group claiming to be Uber employees of color got in touch with the news service to allege that Hornsey made derogatory comments about the company’s head of diversity Bernard Coleman, and that she had denigrated and threatened former Uber executive Bozoma Saint John, who recently left Uber. Saint John’s departure was a result of the alleged harassment, the group claimed.

Hornsey allegedly denigrated and threatened former Uber executive Bozoma Saint John

The law firm Gibson Dunn conducted an investigation and later determined that some of the allegations against Hornsey were substantiated, according to Reuters. It’s not clear which allegations were found to have merit, though.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced Hornsey’s departure in an email to employees, but he made no mention of the allegations or subsequent investigation. Instead, Khosrowshahi praised Hornsey as “incredibly talented, creative, and hard-working,” according to Reuters

Hornsey was one of Uber’s foremost executives dealing with the allegations of widespread harassment and sexism that rocked the ride-hailing company for most of last year. Her departure raises questions about Khosrowshahi’s mission to reform the company’s troubles that he inherited after the resignation of ex-CEO Travis Kalanick.

The department overseen by Hornsey has long been rife with problems. According to a thorough account by Recode’s Johana Bhuiyan last year, Kalanick believed the HR division was there largely to recruit and fire talent, not manage interoffice grievances or allegations of sexism and harassment.

A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement to Reuters, the company said, “We are confident that the investigation was conducted in an unbiased, thorough and credible manner, and that the conclusions of the investigation were addressed appropriately.”