Uber fires 20 employees after harassment probe

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Uber, rocked by allegations that management tolerated a hostile work environment for female workers, fired 20 employees on Tuesday amid a probe into the allegedly toxic culture, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The ride-hailing company told its staff of 12,000 about the firings at an all-hands meeting to discuss a report compiled by law firm Perkins Coie, the source said.

Uber retained the law firm after a blog post in February by Susan J. Fowler, a former software engineer, asserted that management deflected complaints from her and other female employees about being sexually harassed by male managers.

Fowler claimed the environment was so toxic that her team — about 25 percent female when she joined the company in November 2015 — was only 3 percent female when she left 13 months later.

CEO Travis Kalanick immediately tried to defuse the accusation, saying that 15 percent of Uber’s technical staff was female — compared with 17 percent at Facebook and 18 percent at Google.

Nonetheless, Kalanick launched the probe at that time. The probe focused not only on sexual harassment claims at the San Francisco headquarters but also on claims of bullying, discrimination and retaliation.

“It ran the gamut,” the source said.

Perkins Coie partner Bobbie Wilson told Uber’s workers that her firm had investigated 215 worker complaints submitted to Uber’s human resources department since 2012, the source added.

Perkins Coie determined 100 of those claims required no action, 31 resulted in employee training and seven led to final warnings, the source said.

In addition to the 20 claims warranting termination, 57 remain under review, the source said.

“We have taken swift and decisive action and will continue to do so as issues are raised,” the source told The Post, after Bloomberg first reported on the firings.

“Human resources’ emergency response team has doubled its resources around the globe,” the source said.

The findings presented by Perkins Coie’s Wilson have already been incorporated into a wider investigation of Uber’s culture by former US Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder and Tammy Albarran, partners at Covington & Burling, have shared this report with members of Uber’s board of directors.

The report is expected to be made public next week, the source said.

Privately held Uber, valued at $68 billion, could see its plans to go public delayed because of the claims and the firings.

Also affecting an expected IPO is a lawsuit by Google alleging trade-secret theft by the recently terminated head of Uber’s self-driving program.

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