Uber has fired 20 employees in recent months as part of a wide-ranging investigation of the climate and culture at the popular ride-hailing service.
Uber has been under fire over its treatment of women staff since a former employee wrote a scathing blog post about her experience.
It led to two investigations and the uncovering of 215 complaints about harassment and other allegations
The report of the firings initially came from an attorney at the Perkins Coie law firm, which Uber hired to assist in a broader harassment investigation at the company and which made a presentation at the company’s weekly staff meeting Tuesday.
The company later said the firings, which included some senior executives, were for sexual harassment, discrimination, unprofessional behavior, retaliation, bullying and physical safety issues. Most, but not all, of those fired worked at Uber’s San Francisco headquarters.
Uber has faced allegations of misconduct this year, including a criminal investigation by the Justice Department for allegedly using software to trick regulators and avoid government scrutiny. Taken together, the probes have tarnished the image of one of Silicon Valley’s most aggressive and widely emulated companies and its chief executive, Travis Kalanick.
Overall, Perkins Coie reviewed 215 claims of alleged misconduct, leading to the 20 firings. No action was taken on 100 other cases, but 57 are still under investigation. In addition, 31 employees are receiving training, and seven have received written warnings.
The actions are Uber’s latest effort to quell escalating controversies that have shaken the eight-year-old company to its core. In addition to sexual harassment allegations, Uber is facing a variety of issues, including a slew of executive departures, the federal criminal investigation into whether it has been deceiving law enforcement and an admission that it underpaid tens of thousands of drivers.
The company is also in the midst of a major trade-secrets lawsuit filed by Google that could threaten Uber’s self-driving car ambitions. (PCTECMAG)