The tech industry is notoriously male dominated and now sexual harassment reports from the women working there are becoming public. The latest is from former Uber engineer Susan J. Fowler. She published a blog describing the year she spent working at Uber and how she was repeatedly harassed while at work.
Fowler’s blog post went viral. She described how she was sexually harassed by her manager and went to report him to human resources, but was told that it was his first offense so nothing would be immediately done about her complaint. The company valued the harasser as a high performer; thus, rather than discipline the harasser, Fowler’s only choices were stay on his team (risking a a future negative review from him) or find another team within the company. Fowler chose to find another team, and over time, she learned from other women at Uber that not only was such behavior common, other women had already reported the same harasser to HR well before she ever started working there.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick responded to the allegations by appointing a team of independent investigators. Additionally, Uber Board member Arianna Huffington and Uber’s head of human resources were also tasked to lead their own investigations. A new executive hire was asked to resign when it was discovered he had a previous history of harassment from his time working at Google. Kalanick also promised to publish a company report on diversity and be more transparent on the issue in the future. The company has advertised new positions for its Global Diversity and Inclusion Team. They are seeking a diversity and inclusion manager, coordinator, and a business partner.
Sexual Harassment at Other Tech Firms
Shortly after the publication of Fowler’s blog, other women stepped forward from many different tech firms including Tesla, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Zynga, to talk about the culture of harassment. The problem is not so much that the tech industry is somehow predisposed to harassment, say observers. In any male dominated field, it is crucial who is filling leadership positions and how they set the tone for company culture.
Any company, not just tech companies, should protect their employees from all forms of discrimination. There must be a clear and confidential process for reporting incidents so that employees need not fear retaliation. The HR team must quickly and decisively investigate every complaint to make sure no claim goes unanswered. At Uber, Kalanick asked for a meeting with 100 of the company’s female engineers to hear their experiences. They told him that sexism at Uber is the norm and that it is in his power to change that.
Companies that do not attempt to change may suffer a tarnished reputation, a dip in stock price, or meet with social media campaigns meant to induce change from the outside. #DeleteUber was started when Uber users wanted Kalanick to step down from President Trump’s economic council. It found new life after Fowler’s blog went viral and customers wanted to make their feelings about her experience at Uber heard.
Marlton Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Represent Victims of Harassment in the Workplace
If you have experienced harassment while at work, do not suffer in silence, the Cherry Hill and Marlton sexual harassment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. will defend your rights in court. Call 732-842-6500 for a consultation or contact us online. We have offices in Red Bank and Marlton, and we serve clients throughout New Jersey.