Uber has hired Covington & Burling to investigate allegations of sexual harassment within its business.
A blog post published by former employee Susan Fowler on 19 February gained widespread media attention over the weekend.
In it, Fowler describes her experience as a site reliability engineer at Uber, during which time she alleges that she was harassed by a senior member of staff. When she took her concerns to HR, no action was taken.
“Upper management told me that he “was a high performer” (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part,” she wrote.
She says she later discovered, after conversations with other female employees, that the manager was a serial offender.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick responded to the allegations on Twitter the following day, saying he had called on the company’s new chief HR officer to conduct an “urgent investigation.”
2/ I've instructed our CHRO Liane to conduct an urgent investigation. There can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber.
— travis kalanick (@travisk) February 20, 2017
Uber has since turned to Covington’s Tammy Albarran and Eric Holder – who was Attorney General under Barack Obama – to conduct that investigation.
Uber users deleting their account after reading the allegations have received the following message:
“Everyone at Uber is deeply hurting after reading Susan Fowler’s blog post. What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in.
Eric Holder, former US Attorney General under President Obama, and Tammy Albarran, both partners at the leading law firm Covington & Burling, will conduct an independent review into the specific issues relating to the workplace environment raised by Susan Fowler, as well as diversity and inclusion at Uber more broadly.
We believe in a workplace where a deep sense of justice underpins everything we do and its everyone’s number one priority to create change in the coming months and years.”
Uber has been contacted for comment.