Uber fracas gets more muddled with each passing day. Amongst the several new developments that have taken place in the last few days, the latest reported by media is the resignation of David Bonderman, Uber Director. He resigned from the company board following a sexist remark he made during the Uber staff meeting which focused on discussing company’s transformation after a probe into sexual harassment at the company. The remark was considered as offensive to women during the staff meeting.
As per media reports, while Uber board member, Arianna Huffington was speaking about the importance of adding more women to the board, David Bonderman spat out his comments in response. Huffington said, “There’s a lot of data that shows when there’s one woman on the board, it’s much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board.” To this David Bonderman responded, “Actually, what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking.”
Later on Bonderman gave a statement in an email that his comments were careless, inappropriate, and inexcusable and his comments came across opposite to what was intended.
Another important development for Uber in the past few days -its CEO Travis Kalanick has taken leave of absence for an unspecified period. He announced his decision in a memo where he explained that he needs some time to grieve his mother who had recently expired in an accident. He also took full responsibility of the Uber current situation and said that he needs to become a better leader.
The news came after former US Attorney, Eric Holder released a list of recommendations to improve Uber's toxic culture. In one of the recommendations topping the list was Kalanick to be relieved of his leadership responsibilities and search new COO to partner with Kalanick.
Some of the other recommendations suggested that company will adopt the zero-tolerance policy for complaints related to discrimination and harassment. Also, it will add employee diversity advisory board and will regularly publish diversity statistics. Also, performance reviews will be used to hold senior leaders accountable and steps will be taken to restructure the board to include additional independent board seats. The Leadership at Uber will receive mandatory leadership coaching. They will also take initiative to audit and review its pay practices and guidance on appropriate workplace relationships will be given.
People Matters reported last week that Uber’s APAC head, Eric Alexander has been terminated on account of obtaining medical records of India rape victim on the pretext of investigation whether it was a ploy set up by their competitor Ola to sabotage their reputation, as per media reports. The decision to terminate Eric was taken after two law firms Perkins Coie and Covington & Burling discovered that he has accessed medical records of the woman raped by Uber driver in India. The two law firms are leading the investigation related to sexual harassment claims against Ube.
The investigations began when former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler, in her blog, recounted sexual harassment and discrimination incidents which were made during her tenure with Uber. After this incident, Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber ordered an ‘urgent investigation’ into the organization. Uber had also fired 20 employees lately over sexual harassment claims.
Uber also facilitated an anonymous hotline for staff, where they could call and report sexual harassment incidents. Also, they can report bullying, discrimination and unprofessional behavior. But, the law firm, Perkins Coie found out during the investigation that no action was taken by the company against 100 reported incidents.
Uber, the US ride-hailing company has been in a lot of soup with pervasive sexual harassment claims against it and the matter is getting more complicated with such new developments.