Former US law chief leads Uber probe

Dave Lee
North America technology reporter

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Uber said it would publish diversity figures in the 'coming months'

On Sunday we learned that Uber was going to conduct an investigation into claims of serious sexual harassment, following a scathing blog post from a former employee.

On Monday Uber boss Travis Kalanick sent an email to his employees with more information about the probe - and further plans the company has to address the issue.

“It’s been a tough 24 hours,” he began, adding that the company was “hurting”.

The investigation will be lead by former US attorney general Eric Holder, who served under President Obama between 2009 and 2015, and Tammy Albarran - both partners at law firm Covington and Burling.

Arianna Huffington, best known for being the founder of the Huffington Post, will also help carry out the review. Ms Huffington has been on Uber’s board since April last year. Also conducting the review will be Uber’s new head of human resources, Liane Hornsey, and Angela Padilla, Uber’s associate general counsel.

Diversity figures

After coming into widespread criticism for never having published statistics on diversity at the company, Mr Kalanick said he would deliver figures in the "coming months". He said that of the employees working as engineers, product managers or data scientists, 15.1% are women - a number which he said hadn’t changed significantly in the past year.

“As points of reference,” he wrote, “Facebook is at 17%, Google at 18% and Twitter at 10%.”

Until now, Uber had been standing firm on not publishing its diversity figures. Most major technology companies make public their EEO-1 - a government filing that breaks down employees by race, religion, gender and other factors.

Uber has not specified if it will publish its entire EEO-1, or just post select figures from the company.

In her blog post, Susan Fowler cited anecdotal figures of women leaving Uber in droves.

Speaking specifically about the site reliability engineering team, which she worked on for a year, she said that by the time she left, “out of over 150 engineers in the SRE teams, only 3% were women”. She now works at San Francisco-based payment firm Stripe.

Uber said it would be holding an “all hands" meeting on Tuesday to tell its employees what its “next steps” will be.

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