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Perkins Coie Releases Investigation Findings Into Uber Management Problems
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Uber

Summary: Perkins Coie’s investigation into allegations of harassment has resulted in 20 firings and likely more to come.

After allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct at Uber arose when a former employee posted about her treatment on a blog, an investigation was started to uncover the truth. The ride-hailing company hired Perkins Coie to handle the investigation and they have released the numbers of what the firm has uncovered so far.

  
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At this point, Perkins Coie has determined a total of 215 incidents involving sexual harassment, bias, bullying, and retaliation. Of the reports, there have been 20 terminations, 7 written warnings, and 31 employees placed in training or counseling. There are still 57 incidents that have not been solved and 100 that will see no action taken.

The leader of the investigation, Bobbie Wilson at Perkins Coie stated, “We were very dogged about the investigation. We were a very neutral fact-finder and let chips fall where they may.” The chips are still coming down as the investigation is still underway. There are likely to be more firings and disciplinary actions.

Former engineer Susan Fowler posted about the conditions at Uber where management was running wild with prevalent sexism and sexual harassment. In her post, she explains that she was propositioned by her manager and when she contacted HR about the issue with actual copies of their communications, they did nothing. Fowler said, “I was told by HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man’s first offense and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning.” After discussing her issues with other female employees, she learned that some had reported the same manager for similar behavior so this was not his first offense and HR had lied to her. Her direct manager has already been fired in addition to many other senior execs.

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The reports were given to independent board member Arianna Huffington, to HR managers or via a hotline set up by Uber. Of the reports, a team of outside lawyers examined 600,000 internal documents. Wilson explained, “We were given unfettered access to current and former employees and any documentation.” She added, “We made recommendations to the company and they abided by them.”

Perkins Coie interviewed those who complained and those who were accused to uncover details. Wilson said, “Sometimes an allegation was not sustained or was resolved between the parties. One of the reasons you bring in an outside investigator, no question, is that you want people to have faith in the process and, frankly, they are often more comfortable about being frank with us.”



The big question that has everyone wondering is why Uber did not already have a system established to handle employee complaints and concerns. HR head Liane Hornsey focused on that problem during a meeting with employees today. Recode reported that well-known management consultant Frances Frei has been hired on as head of leadership and strategy to help the company work through its issues.

Uber has been struggling with negative news lately that even involve their own leader Travis Kalanick.

Covington & Burling is also conducting a larger investigation into Uber’s management problems.

Do you think Uber needs a complete overhaul? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about Uber news, read these articles:

Photo: flickr.com



 

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