Uber has hired former US President Barack Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder to investigate allegations of sexual harassment after an ex-employee of the ride-sharing company published a damning blog detailing the harassment and discrimination she allegedly suffered while working at the group.
In a staff memo, obtained by Reuters, chief executive Travis Kalanick told employees that Mr Holder would 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”.
He also revealed that only 15.1 per cent of employees are women across Uber’s engineering, product management and scientist roles.
“What is driving me through all this is a determination that we take what’s happened as an opportunity to heal wounds of the past and set a new standard for justice in the workplace,“ Mr Kalanick said.
“It is my number one priority that we come through this a better organization, where we live our values and fight to support those who experience injustice.”
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, Mr Kalanick said in the memo.
The hiring of Mr Holder comes only days after Susan Fowler, a former engineer at Uber, wrote in a personal blog post published on Sunday that she had suffered “sexual harassment”, witnessed “political games” and received “threats” from her manager after reporting incidents to the company’s human resources department.
In her blog, Mr Fowler said she was harassed by a manager but he did not face any consequences from the human resources department.
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“Upper management told me that he ‘was a high performer’[ … ]and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake,” she wrote.
Last year, Airbnb hired Mr Holder to help craft a policy to combat discrimination occurring through the online lodging service’s platform.