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Uber to investigate sexist, hostile, chaotic work environment exposed by former employee

A hostile work environment wrought with sexism, dysfunction, greed and Machiavellian plots to undermine superiors in an effort to dethrone them – that’s the impression that one ex-Uber engineer gives of her former company.

In a blog post that quickly went viral, former Uber engineer Susan J. Fowler described her experiences inside an Uber team. Working as a site reliability engineer (SRE) Fowler experienced sexual advances from her supervisors, harassment, threats and deeply rooted incompetence on the part of the HR department.

The department, according to Fowler, routinely ignored evidence and complaints brought by female employees and almost never took action against the employees that had been reported. In one incident described in Fowler's blog post, a manager had been repeatedly harassing women employees on the team making sexual advances towards them. Despite repeated complaints and ample evidence, HR never acted.

Sexism and sexual harassment weren’t the only negative aspects of working inside Uber. Chaos and backstabbing were a daily occurrence, with employees bragging about withholding vital information from superiors in order to undermine them, and teams, projects, and schedules being in constant flux. Fowler estimates that the team originally started with 25% of engineers being women, but it had only 6% women after a full year.

Uber’s CEO said the issues made public by Fowler would be urgently investigated. His full statement reads:

I have just read Susan Fowler’s blog. What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in. It’s the first time this has come to my attention so I have instructed Liane Hornsey our new Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. We seek to make Uber a just workplace and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber — and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Uber faces charges of sexism, sexual harassment and hostile tactics. Years ago, one of its executives was forced to apologize after suggesting journalists investigating the company for sexism should have their personal lives targeted and exposed online.

Source: Susan J. Fowler

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