Uber fires 20 after investigating over 200 bad-behavior claims

June 6, 2017, 1:00pm

Uber has reportedly looked into more than 200 claims of inappropriate workplace behavior and fired at least 20 employees, according to the results of an internal investigation shared at an all-hands meeting Tuesday at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

The investigation, run by the law firm Perkins Coie, was launched after the February departure of an Uber employee, Susan Fowler, who alleged systemic sexual harassment and discrimination during her year working as an engineer at the ride-hailing giant.


Bloomberg first reported the news of the firings, which were independently confirmed to VICE News by a source familiar with the matter. The Information website subsequently added that 30 employees had received training and that seven were issued final warnings. Uber employs about 12,000 people total, not including drivers.

The results of the investigation stand in direct contrast to the public proclamations of Uber executives in recent months, particularly HR chief Liane Hornsey and board member Arianna Huffington.

“Yes, there were some bad apples, unquestionably. But this is not a systemic problem,” Huffington told CNN in March. Hornsey told USA Today in late May that sexual harassment “wasn’t one of our big themes” that came up in internal conversations after Fowler’s exit.

“Arianna and Liane to press: there is no systemic sexual harassment, just Susan,” Fowler tweeted after news of the firings broke. “External lawyers: there are 215 cases of sexual harassment.”

In addition to the 20 firings related to the Perkins inquiry, Uber has seen a raft of executive departures related to its ongoing struggles. President Jeff Jones, vp of product Ed Baker, engineering chief Amit Singhal, and others have all left in recent months. And more heads — including board member Ryan Graves and CTO Thuan Pham — are expected to roll.

A separate internal investigation about how Uber has handled sexual harassment and discrimination issues, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and his firm Covington & Burling, is presenting the conclusions of its own investigation to Uber board members this week. A spokesperson for Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.