Uber hires ex-U.S. Attorney General Holder to probe sexual harassment

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By Subrat Patnaik

<span class="articleLocation”>Uber Technologies Inc has hired former U.S.
Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a review of sexual
harassment claims at the ride-hailing service made by a former

Holder and Tammy Albarran, who are partners at the law firm
Covington & Burling, will look into the complaints about a
manager at Uber, as well as general questions about diversity
and inclusion, Chief Executive Travis Kalanick told his
employees in a memo on Monday that was seen by Reuters.

Last year, Airbnb hired Holder, who served under former
President Barack Obama, to help craft a policy to combat
discrimination occurring through the online lodging service’s platform. reut.rs/2m5Z9xZ

Arianna Huffington, who joined Uber’s board last year, Liane
Hornsey, Uber’s chief human resources officer, and Angela
Padilla, the company’s associate general counsel, will also help
conduct the review, Kalanick said in the memo.

Huffington, Kalanick and Hornsey will meet on Tuesday, the
memo said.

Susan Fowler, the former Uber employee who complained of
being the target of sexual harassment by her manager, wrote in a
blog post on Sunday that when she reported the offense to human
resources officials and management, they declined to punish the
alleged offender because he “was a high performer” and that this
was his first offense.” bit.ly/2kCE416

Fowler also said, after speaking with other female
employees, she realized that both HR and management had been
lying about this being the manager’s “first offense.”

In a statement sent to Reuters on Sunday, Kalanick called
Fowler’s allegations “abhorrent and against everything Uber
stands for and believes in.”

Fowler’s tale prompted a backlash, including calls for a
revival of the #DeleteUber movement. Some protesters urged a
boycott of the ride service over allegations it sought to profit
from the chaos at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport last month,
after President Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to
people from seven Muslim majority countries.

Many women working in Silicon Valley, particularly in highly
technical roles, say they have experienced misogyny and
harassment in the male-dominated field. Technology companies are
under mounting pressure to make their workforces more diverse by
hiring more women, blacks and Latinos – but progress has been

“There have been many questions about the gender diversity
of Uber’s technology teams,” Kalanick said. Uber will publish a
broader diversity report for the company in the coming months,
he said.

“I believe in creating a workplace where a deep sense of
justice underpins everything we do,” Kalanick said. “Every Uber
employee should be proud of the culture we have and what we will
build together over time.”

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