Daily US Times: Uber has agreed to pay $4.4 million to settle a federal investigation into charges it fostered a work culture where sexual harassment and retaliation went unchecked. Government agency Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the settlement on Wednesday.
Under the settlement, Uber will establish a fund with the money to compensate anyone who the EEOC determines experienced sexual harassment, retaliation or both after Jan. 1, 2014.
EEOC attorney Ami Sanghvi, who advised on the investigation said, ‘This agreement will hopefully empower women in technology to speak up against sexism in the workplace knowing that their voices can yield meaningful change’.
With the rise of the #MeToo movement, the EEOC has focused on harassment and retaliation cases.
EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic said in a statement ‘this agreement holds Uber accountable, and, going forward, positions the company to innovate and transform the tech industry by modelling effective measures against sexual harassment and retaliation.’
The settlement was agreed by both parties outside of court.
EEOC’s San Francisco district director William Tamayo suggested that employers should ‘take note of Uber’s commitment to holding management accountable and identifying repeat offenders’ so that ‘superstar harassers are not allowed to continue their behaviour.’
He said ‘the tech industry, among others, has often ignored allegations of sexual harassment when an accused harasser is seen as more valuable to the company than the accuser.’
In 2017, a former Uber employee named Susan Fowler wrote in a blog post that a manager of hers at the San Francisco tech company sexually harassed her and that no action was taken when she went to human resources. Her blog post created lots of attention and Uber had to go through a massive investigation.
Among the charges made by Fowler: That Uber’s human resources department refused to discipline Fowler’s manager after he made sexual advances, even though he had harassed other women, and that Fowler was told to expect a poor performance review if she stayed on the team.