Uber sacks over 20 workers after sexual harassment probe

In March, Arianna Huffington, who sits on a board subcommittee looking into the sexual harassment claims, told CNN there was not a systemic sexual harassment problem at the company.

Officials told KTVU that the majority of the 215 complaints were lodged by workers in the company's San Francisco office but reports were also filed from company's other offices as well. The person who confirmed the news for The Washington Post was familiar with Uber's action and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter not yet announced publicly by the company. The company has been under investigation since February after a former employee, Susan Fowler, accused the company of ignoring claims of female mistreatment, noting a manager who harassed her but went undisciplined.

The investigation is being led by law firm Perkins Coie. The company also has been criticized for its political ties in recent months, as well as run-ins with drivers and conflicts with regulators.

During Uber's ascent to becoming the world's most valuable startup, the San Francisco-based company took Silicon Valley's penchant for sexism, for cutthroat, unapologetic competition and distaste for government regulation and kicked it up several notches.

After the posting, Uber set up a 24-hour hotline to take complaints from employees, and hired Perkins Coie to investigate them.

The findings of a separate investigation on the company's workplace culture by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder are expected to be released in the coming days. Beyond that, the company is continuing to investigate 57 additional claims about "harassment, discrimination, retaliation", and other similar things, with another 31 employees being given "counseling or training" and seven others getting "written warnings" about their behavior.

Most of Uber's managerial staff were first-time bosses, which led to inexperience about how they should conduct themselves professionally. The results and takeaways from Holder's investigation will be presented to Uber employees at next week's all-hands meeting, according to the spokesperson.

Sexual harassment has not been the only complaint about Uber's leadership. A lawsuit by Google alleging trade-secret theft by Uber's recently terminated head of Uber's self-driving program also could jeopardize an IPO.

Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei has been brought on board to train all managers that report to Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick.

She did say Uber has given her law firm "unfettered access" to people and documents.

  • Salvatore Jensen