Former Uber site reliability engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti has some not-so-great stories for women out there who may be considering working for Uber. In a blog post on Sunday, she revealed the disturbing amount of sexism she experienced at the company, including sexual harassment, unfair performance reviews and ongoing problems with reporting issues to human resources.
On her very first day at Uber, she wrote on her blog, her manager had told her about his open marriage and made sexual advances on her. When she reported the situation to HR, she expected they would take care of it—and the manager would be fired. That’s their job, right? But the problem only got worse.
“I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man's first offense, and that they wouldn't feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to,” she says in her blog post. “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 on his part.”
She ended up having to find another team to work for, because if she had stayed under the same manager, he probably would have given her a bad performance review.
Later, the same issues cropped up again and again. One of her performance reviews was changed from good to bad so that she wouldn't be able to transfer teams—her manager wanted her to stay so he could say he had women on the team. The company refused to order special leather jackets for the female engineers because there were only six of them. And every time Fowler tried to report sexism to HR, they told her she was the problem.
As Fowler met more women engineers for Uber, she found out that more women had similar experiences with sexism and the HR department. She even found that out of over 150 engineers in the site reliability engineering teams, only 3 percent were women. When she had first joined, they had made up over 25 percent. Well, isn’t that interesting.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sent the following statement to BuzzFeed News: "What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in. It’s the first time this has come to my attention so I have instructed Liane Hornsey our new Chief Human Resources Officer to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. We seek to make Uber a just workplace FOR EVERYONE and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber — and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired."
Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, who's also a member of Uber’s board, has announced she will work on the investigation.
Just talked w/ Travis & as a representative of Uber's Board I will work w/Liane to conduct a full independent investigation starting now 1/2
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) February 20, 2017
Hopefully this chaos will all be resolved, as women deserve the same treatment in the workplace as men do. Fowler gets major props for speaking out not just for herself, but for the many women who have experienced similar situations while working for Uber and other male-dominated companies.