Uber executive resigns in the wake of racial discrimination investigation

In an email to staff yesterday, Uber's Chief People Officer, Liane Hornsey announced her resignation from the company. This resignation comes shortly after an investigation regarding allegations against Hornsey that claim she systematically dismissed complaints of racial discrimination within the firm.

Hornsey has been the head of the company's HR department for the past 18 months, and has spoken many times on diversity and discrimination issues. An email sent by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to the staff regarding this matter, obtained by TechCrunch, interestingly does not mention any specific reason for her resignation. Commenting on her departure, Khosrowshahi notes:

"I am writing to let you know that earlier today Liane told me that she is leaving the company. Liane joined Uber in January 2017, and since then she has led our People & Places teams through a period of enormous positive change."

Although Hornsey herself acknowledged in a separate email to the staff that her decision "comes a little out of the blue", she insists it had been on her mind for a while.

An anonymous group of employees that claims to be of color alleged that Hornsey made discriminatory remarks against Bernard Coleman, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Uber. They further went on to say that the company's former Chief Brand Officer, Bozoma Saint John, was threatened by her and ultimately became the reason she left last month. Regarding the latest investigation, the group claimed that filed complaints - especially ones that dealt with racial issues - were often dismissed or left unresolved. It also accused the company of ignoring a board-approved recommendation that required the Chief Diversity Officer to report directly to the CEO or COO.

It is important to note that some of the allegations made in the past months were substantiated by law firm Gibson Dunn in May, although it is not clear which. In an email written to Khosrowshahi, obtained by Reuters, the investigators mentioned "several options to address concerns regarding Ms. Hornsey".

Uber has been involved in sexual harassment and gender discrimination investigations in the past as well. Notably, the company decided to pay $10 million last year to settle a class-action law suit involving over 400 women and minorities. According to the firm's first diversity report under Khosrowshahi, black representation has gone down a bit, although the percentage of women in employment has increased by about two percent.

In a statement issued regarding the matter, Uber has expressed its confidence in the latest complaints having been thoroughly investigated and addressed accordingly.

Source: Reuters

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