A former Uber engineer has emerged to accuse her former employer of sexual harassment, with claims that the management dismissed her complaints and even threatened to fire her should she continue to complain.
Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer, made the allegations prompting a quick announcement from CEO Travis Kalanick that urgent investigation is underway. She now works with technology company Stripe.
In her concerns, Ms Flower says that a repeat offender was continuously protected by the firm and that no one was allowed to speak out.
Flower worked with Uber from November 2015 to December 2016. She outlined the allegations via her blog in which she claims that the first time she joined, the manager proposed to her for sex. One director also explained that the decline in women at Uber was attributed to the female gender not being “better engineers.”
Uber boss Travis Kalanick said in a statement that “What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in.” He added that whoever thinks such a behavior is tolerable will definitely be fired.
As Flower explains, the manger used her first official day at work to explain that he is in an open relationship and that he is having a difficulty finding new partners. She says that he sent him a series of messages via the company’s chat.
“He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with,” she says pointing out that she immediately screenshot the messages and forwarded to the HR.
Her expectation was that the company would act on the matter but in contrary, she was met with stiff resistance. The upper management told her that even though this evidently emerges as a sexual harassment case, it was the first time the man had been caught in such circumstances and they wouldn’t be comfortable acting past just a stern warning.
She was then asked to either find another team or stay in the current one. However, staying was more catastrophic as the manger was likely to poorly review her.
Flower’s incident was an isolated one though she adds that she came across other female engineers with the same problem. Just like her case, the women repeatedly complained but were told it was his first time to be found in such circumstances.
She says that the unnamed man eventually quit the company.
Any of her requests for transfer were turned down despite it being clear that she had qualified. When she inquired why her request was turned down, she was told that “performance problems aren’t always something that has to do with work, but sometimes can be about things outside of work or your personal life”.
This is not the first time Uber has found itself at loggerhead with employees over sexual matter. Kalanick has in the past been accused of his sexist remarks when he said at an interview that “We call that Boob-er” while making a joke about “women on demand”.
Survey on Silicon Valley indicates that 60 percent of the women have been subjected to sexual harassment.