Uber’s Travis Kalanick details independent investigation regarding sexual harassment
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sent a memo to employees today following allegations of sexual harassment from former Uber engineer Susan Fowler. In the memo, obtained by TechCrunch, Kalanick said the company has tapped former US Attorney General Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran, partners at law firm Covington & Burling, to independently investigate the workplace issues Fowler spoke about in her blog post.
As Uber board member Arianna Huffington tweeted last night, she will take part in the review, along with Uber’s chief human resources officer Liane Hornsey and the company’s associate general counsel Angela Padilla.
In the memo, Kalanick also said that Uber would finally release its own diversity report, which comes after Rev. Jesse Jackson called for Uber to release one. As a teaser, he noted that across Uber’s engineering, product management and scientist roles, 15.1 percent of the employees are women and that “has not changed substantively in the last year.”
He went on to say that he believes in creating a workplace where “a deep sense of justice underpins everything” Uber does.
“Every Uber employee should be proud of the culture we have and what we will build together over time,” Kalanick wrote. “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. It is my number one priority that we come through this a better organization, where we live our values and fight for and support those who experience injustice.”
Here’s the full memo:
It’s been a tough 24 hours. I know the company is hurting, and understand everyone has been waiting for more information on where things stand and what actions we are going to take.
First, 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 work place environment raised by Susan Fowler, as well as diversity and inclusion at Uber more broadly. Joining them will be Arianna Huffington, who sits on Uber’s board, Liane Hornsey, our recently hired Chief Human Resources Officer, and Angela Padilla, our Associate General Counsel. I expect them to conduct this review in short order.
Second, Arianna is flying out to join me and Liane at our all hands meeting tomorrow to discuss what’s happened and next steps. Arianna and Liane will also be doing smaller group and one-on-one listening sessions to get your feedback directly.
Third, there have been many questions about the gender diversity of Uber’s technology teams. If you look across our engineering, product management, and scientist roles, 15.1% of employees are women and this has not changed substantively in the last year. As points of reference, Facebook is at 17%, Google at 18% and Twitter is at 10%.* Liane and I will be working to publish a broader diversity report for the company in the coming months.
I believe in creating a workplace where a deep sense of justice underpins everything we do. Every Uber employee should be proud of the culture we have and what we will build together over time. 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. It is my number one priority that we come through this a better organization, where we live our values and fight for and support those who experience injustice.
*Contrary to Kalanick’s memo, Twitter’s technical team is 15% female, not 10%, and Google’s technical team is 19%, not 18% female.
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