Former Engineer Says Uber Is a Nightmare of Sexism

Megalith

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has ordered an investigation headed by former Attorney General Eric Holder after an ex-engineer posted a journal entry detailing her dire experiences at the ride-hailing company. Their HR department was allegedly of no help even after she submitted definitive proof of misconduct, and her managers would undermine her achievements, going so far as to alter her performance reviews. In one “bizarre” case, the company was gifting leather jackets to its engineers, but the females received none because there were not enough of them to justify the expense.

Fowler was pressured to remain under a manager who sexually harassed her, according to her account. She says HR responded by saying the company “wouldn’t feel comfortable” giving him more than a warning. She says she was then given a choice to leave her team, or continue doing her work — with the understanding it could result in a bad performance review from the manager who harassed her. From there, Fowler’s journey only gets bleaker. She describes a “Game of Thrones political war” among upper management in the engineering department, with managers openly trying to sabotage and conquer each other.
 

Jagger100

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Game of Thones comment is unfortunately typical and she's just getting revenge by airing dirty laundry with that comment.
 

Shotglass01

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Well sounds like someone is in trouble.
Yea, maybe. I read the whole story yesterday while at lunch. If what she says is accurate then Uber needs a serious HR makeover. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. But, the impact of the story resulting in the CEO calling for an investigation is pretty good. If her story is true, there's going to be a few openings in Uber.
 

Shotglass01

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Game of Thones comment is unfortunately typical and she's just getting revenge by airing dirty laundry with that comment.
Don't totally disagree with this, but she never mentioned anyone by name. She claims to have had taken screenshots as well so she may have some proof to back it up. So not too sure about revenge.
 

magoo

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If the story is true.......

So sexual harassment is now defined as not getting swag?
So she has a manager she doesn't get along with......ask for a transfer.....or resign.....

I agree it's not polite to pick on people, or imagine that men are different in the workplace than women, or bully them physically or mentally....

But this sort of hints at sour grapes......sorry.....
 
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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has ordered an investigation headed by former Attorney General Eric Holder after an ex-engineer posted a journal entry detailing her dire experiences at the ride-hailing company. Their HR department was allegedly of no help even after she submitted definitive proof of misconduct, and her managers would undermine her achievements, going so far as to alter her performance reviews. In one “bizarre” case, the company was gifting leather jackets to its engineers, but the females received none because there were not enough of them to justify the expense.

Fowler was pressured to remain under a manager who sexually harassed her, according to her account. She says HR responded by saying the company “wouldn’t feel comfortable” giving him more than a warning. She says she was then given a choice to leave her team, or continue doing her work — with the understanding it could result in a bad performance review from the manager who harassed her. From there, Fowler’s journey only gets bleaker. She describes a “Game of Thrones political war” among upper management in the engineering department, with managers openly trying to sabotage and conquer each other.
She can come here. We are a multi national multi US State engineering company the seeks our minorities and women for engineering and software positions. We even have programs designed to encourage them to try for higher positions. And every year, every one of us has to complete Sexual Harassment training which I fully support. There is zero tolerance for that BS here.
 
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Yea, maybe. I read the whole story yesterday while at lunch. If what she says is accurate then Uber needs a serious HR makeover. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle. But, the impact of the story resulting in the CEO calling for an investigation is pretty good. If her story is true, there's going to be a few openings in Uber.
Entirely possible with a young startup like uber.
 

Dayaks

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I don't exactly have high regard to Uber to begin with... to me it's a parasitic company that preys on the dumb that can't calculate costs correctly. It's on the same level as pyramid schemes to me.

Manager problems are of the worst kind. I had to report my manager once for ethical issues, and I had tons of data and witnesses, what a shit fest that was. Never again...
 

dgingeri

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The sexual harassment was out of line. I'll give her that. Her direct superior repeatedly asked her for sex. That wasn't just "not getting swag".

As for the "game of thrones" environment, that's just normal corporate behavior. It just happened to be more out in the open and honest there than most other places. Most women don't understand that, and therefore can't get ahead in the game, and then claim it is because of discrimination. If they'd learn to be more aggressive, then they'd get ahead. It's not about their sex. It's about their lack of aggressiveness. I have the same issue.
 

Trepidati0n

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So sexual harassment is now defined as not getting swag?
So she has a manager she doesn't get along with......ask for a transfer.....or resign.....
Can't figure out if trolling or not. You would be a terrible boss/manager and fired pretty quickly in most cases.

Only reason this got as far as it did is because UBER is so growth oriented against LYFT that alot of shit is being swept under the rug for argument of being more competitive.
 
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The sexual harassment was out of line. I'll give her that. Her direct superior repeatedly asked her for sex. That wasn't just "not getting swag".

As for the "game of thrones" environment, that's just normal corporate behavior. It just happened to be more out in the open and honest there than most other places. Most women don't understand that, and therefore can't get ahead in the game, and then claim it is because of discrimination. If they'd learn to be more aggressive, then they'd get ahead. It's not about their sex. It's about their lack of aggressiveness. I have the same issue.
No you are supposed to get promoted on merit, not who you back-stab better.
 
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Aside from her allegedly lecherous boss, and they happen, it sounds like it could just be an all around shitty office environment. In some places anything, absolutely anything, will suffice as a reason to be horrible to co-workers. It's not about being tough or competitive, it's about being civil and expecting civility in return. There was once a day when we called it "professionalism" but today to comport yourself with honour and dignity are considered "PC".

Respect is not something other people earn, it's something you offer.
 

hakstarr

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If the story is true.......

So sexual harassment is now defined as not getting swag?
So she has a manager she doesn't get along with......ask for a transfer.....or resign.....

I agree it's not polite to pick on people, or imagine that men are different in the workplace than women, or bully them physically or mentally....

But this sort of hints at sour grapes......sorry.....

Wow idiot comments like this that make my cringe at society. Did you even read her blog post? It went way beyond getting swag. You miss the entire point she shouldn't have to get a transfer or resign because of a sick manager that cant keep his shit together he should have been fired plain and simple but lets justify sexism with victim blaming.
 
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fadedlogic

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Eric Holder, big name so it looks like Uber is serious...Eric Holder great making things go away. It's utter bullshit if half of what she states is true and I hope Uber pays dearly; which they most certainly will with a gag order at the heart of any settlement.
 
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alxlwson

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She can come here. We are a multi national multi US State engineering company the seeks our minorities and women for engineering and software positions. We even have programs designed to encourage them to try for higher positions. And every year, every one of us has to complete Sexual Harassment training which I fully support. There is zero tolerance for that BS here.

Why would you actively seek them out? How about actively seek out the best talent, regardless of race, creed, or p/v equipment/preferences.
 

GotNoRice

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Did you even read her blog post?
That's the thing... right now we have nothing but her fucking blog and bullshit accusations to go on, and it's already front page news with people coming out from everywhere to comfort her and make her feel special. Having any actual substance to back up these accusations does not seem to be a requirement. She obviously had nothing to loose, since all this media attention is probably the best thing that has ever happened to her career.

Funny my local news station just talked about how she voluntarily passed up the chance to take this up in the court of law, "Because often women these days have to take this kind of thing up with the court of public opinion to get anything done". OR maybe it's because the court of public opinion requires no proof? Guilty until proven innocent is a great way for things to be done when you are the accuser.
 

Shotglass01

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Funny my local news station just talked about how she voluntarily passed up the chance to take this up in the court of law, "Because often women these days have to take this kind of thing up with the court of public opinion to get anything done". OR maybe it's because the court of public opinion requires no proof? Guilty until proven innocent is a great way for things to be done when you are the accuser.
If this is all fabricated by her, she's totally hosed.
 

NeoNemesis

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Why would you actively seek them out? How about actively seek out the best talent, regardless of race, creed, or p/v equipment/preferences.
Different perspectives.

Gender/culture/religion/upbringing/race all dictate how we approach a problem. The more diversity you can build into your teams the more ways they'll find to tackle a problem.
 

alxlwson

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Different perspectives.

Gender/culture/religion/upbringing/race all dictate how we approach a problem. The more diversity you can build into your teams the more ways they'll find to tackle a problem.

So, seek out the best, without regards to those things, and you get it. If you seek out "diversity", someone gets left out because of one of those things that you are seeking. It's just another word for discrimination, but one that is easy to swallow for the snowflakes.
 

Nytegard

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The sexual harassment was out of line. I'll give her that. Her direct superior repeatedly asked her for sex. That wasn't just "not getting swag".

As for the "game of thrones" environment, that's just normal corporate behavior. It just happened to be more out in the open and honest there than most other places. Most women don't understand that, and therefore can't get ahead in the game, and then claim it is because of discrimination. If they'd learn to be more aggressive, then they'd get ahead. It's not about their sex. It's about their lack of aggressiveness. I have the same issue.
Pretty much this.

No you are supposed to get promoted on merit, not who you back-stab better.
Many of us have worked in backstabbing environments where merit means nothing. That's just reality. And HR isn't your friend, nor has it ever been your friend, despite what they might tell you. HR is an enemy who looks after the company, not it's employees. Complaining about a manager almost never ends well, no matter how correct you are. The best solution is to just change companies, not complain about it. I'd love to bring up previous work place grievances, some much worse than what she mentioned, but as a guy, I don't have a sexism card to play, and it would only look unprofessional from my end to talk about them.
 
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Ur_Mom

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Things like this should be addressed. It's definitely not commonplace and when it's found, it should be taken up in a court of law. Not just pushing it on blog posts.

Of course, some outlets make it sound like it's happening at every company, day in and day out... It's not. So, make it a big deal when it happens.

Or just bitch online. That'll bring about the changes you want! Or the attention... same thing in some circumstances. At least she'll be contacted for those pity job offers.
 

Darunion

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So, seek out the best, without regards to those things, and you get it. If you seek out "diversity", someone gets left out because of one of those things that you are seeking. It's just another word for discrimination, but one that is easy to swallow for the snowflakes.
It is a weird situation. Let us just say (ill go all better race thing) Company A is a "multinational non-discriminating company" that hire completely based on skill. Now for whatever reason this has resulted with a 99% Caucasian staff, the appearance is not welcoming for any other ethnicity. Which then compounds further and you have likely higher skilled people not applying because it doesn't look like the kind of place they would want to work.

Inversely if Company B hires based on skill + a decent spread of ethnicity, you get more diverse pools of skilled people wanting to work there. But then you get people who might be better skilled turned away for someone lesser. Which let's be honest, it happens all the time. Why else are there interviews, your skills are on your resume, your personality/appearance is in your interview.

I have no solution to either of these, I just think we demonize one or the other too often. The binary thinking is really causing more issues than anything in my opinion.
 

Ducman69

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Take the word of a random person I have never met before, with no other evidence? Yeah, no. People lie, and strangers have no credibility with me to take their word at face value, and I think the people that do just take her word for it are the ones exercising confirmation bias, because they want it to be true.

PS: I have a twelve inch penis, and every morning I am sexually harassed by several female management that either "unintentionally" brush up against me, or make lewd sexual innuendo comments and puns about anacondas. I overheard one manager even say, "He doesn't need a raise, he's big enough flaccid, if you know what I mean." When they were giving all the female employees leather jackets, I was told they ran out of jackets and given really small 1980s style running shorts and reminded that its casual Friday and I could wear those if I wanted. This all happened. Trust me.
 

Nytegard

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Things like this should be addressed. It's definitely not commonplace and when it's found, it should be taken up in a court of law. Not just pushing it on blog posts.

Of course, some outlets make it sound like it's happening at every company, day in and day out... It's not. So, make it a big deal when it happens.

Or just bitch online. That'll bring about the changes you want! Or the attention... same thing in some circumstances. At least she'll be contacted for those pity job offers.
After one job I had, I sought legal console about wrongful termination, and while they stated I most likely had a case and would probably win, to not go through with it, as it would more likely cause more harm than good in my career. Workplace bullying is a tricky subject.
 
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Croak

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If this is all fabricated by her, she's totally hosed.
No she's not. There's a significant base of support for her that will not waver, due to the fact that she has a uterus. She'll land a good gig somewhere, or worst case, become a guest speaker and/or Patreon beneficiary. Best case, she ends up re-hired, promoted and running a department at Uber after the witch hunt investigation.

Uber will land on her side of this, right or wrong, because it has to, or run the very real risk of being "Eich'd". Uber's non-virtue signalling customer base won't give a shit one way or the other what they do, but the SJW backlash if they don't come down in favor of this woman would be extremely damaging, considering the demographic of Uber's customer base.

In the short term this is probably good for Uber. They find the woman's story true, fire people, implement a more draconian HR policy to appease and prevent, then reap the rewards and free press. In the long run, it'll clog the hell out of their management ability and they'll end up like Reddit or Twitter.
 

Darunion

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No she's not. There's a significant base of support for her that will not waver, due to the fact that she has a uterus. She'll land a good gig somewhere, or worst case, become a guest speaker and/or Patreon beneficiary. Best case, she ends up re-hired, promoted and running a department at Uber after the witch hunt investigation.

Uber will land on her side of this, right or wrong, because it has to, or run the very real risk of being "Eich'd". Uber's non-virtue signalling customer base won't give a shit one way or the other what they do, but the SJW backlash if they don't come down in favor of this woman would be extremely damaging, considering the demographic of Uber's customer base. In the short term this is probably good for Uber. They find the woman's story true, fire people, implement a more draconian HR policy to appease and prevent, then reap the rewards and free press. In the long run, it'll clog the shit out of their management ability and they'll end up like Reddit or Twitter.
I really want to say you are dead wrong, I mean you SHOULD be wrong. This isn't how things should be handled, but now with so much public 'meddling' companies will lose more money going against the public opinion regardless who is right. But sadly, what you said is likely exactly how it will go down. Even if the manager did nothing wrong, uber would be the hero of the story to take her side.
 

Jagger100

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Don't totally disagree with this, but she never mentioned anyone by name. She claims to have had taken screenshots as well so she may have some proof to back it up. So not too sure about revenge.
Revenge may not quite be the right word, but it was a gratuitous add-on that has nothing to do with her HR claim.
 

Shotglass01

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No she's not. There's a significant base of support for her that will not waver, due to the fact that she has a uterus. She'll land a good gig somewhere, or worst case, become a guest speaker and/or Patreon beneficiary. Best case, she ends up re-hired, promoted and running a department at Uber after the witch hunt investigation.

Uber will land on her side of this, right or wrong, because it has to, or run the very real risk of being "Eich'd". Uber's non-virtue signalling customer base won't give a shit one way or the other what they do, but the SJW backlash if they don't come down in favor of this woman would be extremely damaging, considering the demographic of Uber's customer base.

In the short term this is probably good for Uber. They find the woman's story true, fire people, implement a more draconian HR policy to appease and prevent, then reap the rewards and free press. In the long run, it'll clog the hell out of their management ability and they'll end up like Reddit or Twitter.
I'm with you and Darunion on this. There's only one outcome where it might go the other way, she's making it all up. Then Uber could go after slander, etc, etc. That would be much, much harder to recover from even if you've got a uterus.
 

NeoNemesis

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So, seek out the best, without regards to those things, and you get it. If you seek out "diversity", someone gets left out because of one of those things that you are seeking. It's just another word for discrimination, but one that is easy to swallow for the snowflakes.
What does 'the best' even mean?

You pick the person who will best compliment your team. In this instance, the company feels that it is best served by having a diverse team.
 

Cali3350

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So, seek out the best, without regards to those things, and you get it. If you seek out "diversity", someone gets left out because of one of those things that you are seeking. It's just another word for discrimination, but one that is easy to swallow for the snowflakes.
Its not always that simple. If the best people are all educated by X-Y schools from X-Y country, while they may be the 'best' candidates, its entirely possible they all think / act the same, which can be detrimental. Different ideas / styles are strictly beneficial when developing new products. Its entirely possible a company could get more value out of a still-very-good but totally different cultured person because of this.

To just say the 'snowflakes' want diversity is completely ignoring the above.
 

Croak

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I'm with you and Darunion on this. There's only one outcome where it might go the other way, she's making it all up. Then Uber could go after slander, etc, etc. That would be much, much harder to recover from even if you've got a uterus.
Proving her wrong is still a case of "He said, She said", and in today's climate, "She said" has far more weight than "He said". The presumption of innocence really only applies to non-males these days, and the burden of proof is likewise skewed against the accused.

All this woman has to do is stick with her story (true or not) and no matter what they throw at her, what evidence they find to disprove her, it'll all just be seen as "Patriarchal oppression" to her support base, with the bonus that she becomes a still-living martyr.

If she's lying, she still profits from this. If she's telling the truth, she still profits from this. So the smart money for Uber would be on backing her play and to make sure she's not found to be lying.
 
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Ducman69

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What does 'the best' even mean?
If your job is to bring rocks up a hill, and Joe can carry ten 80 pound rocks an hour, and Jane can only carry two 20 pound rocks an hour, Joe is "best". Its really not that difficult. How does "diversity" improve someone's ability to do their job? Pro-tip: It doesn't. The word "diversity" just means "not white-male", and is used as an excuse to implement racist and sexist policies that otherwise couldn't be justified.
 

NeoNemesis

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If your job is to bring rocks up a hill, and Joe can carry ten 80 pound rocks an hour, and Jane can only carry two 20 pound rocks an hour, Joe is "best".
That's a very simplistic way of looking at it.

Ask yourself this: Can Jane be trained to lift more rocks? What's her maximum potential? How often do Jane/Joe call in sick? Has Joe already achieved maximum rock lifting potential how long is he going to be satisfied staying in that role? What's the cost of replacing Joe? How well do Joe/Jane work with others? How do Joe/Jane approach rock lifting (what techniques do they use)?
 

lcpiper

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Wow idiot comments like this that make my cringe at society. Did you even read her blog post? It went way beyond getting swag. You miss the entire point she shouldn't have to get a transfer or resign because of a sick manager that cant keep his shit together he should have been fired plain and simple but lets justify sexism with victim blaming.
OK, I have to get something here straightened out, She didn't stay in the position under the manager who kept asking her for sex. She moved to a different team at management's and HR's suggestion. Now the way they handeled it was shitty if you take her word on all this. But she didn't stay under that manager and in fact, she moved on to a position where as she put it, "she had great autonomy". Of course that means she had a new manager and this one was bad for other reasons, again, if you accept her account.

So no one made her stay under that manager and in fact, the reporter from the linked article fucked this up. You have to go read her blog for yourself to get it right. Here is what the woman said on her blog following her report to HR on the man's improper email. And it was a single instance not that a person can't be fired for one really bad instance, but it wasn't repeated like some here are thinking.

From her blog on the subject;
I was then told that I had to make a choice: (i) I could either go and find another team and then never have to interact with this man again, or (ii) I could stay on the team, but I would have to understand that he would most likely give me a poor performance review when review time came around, and there was nothing they could do about that.
https://www.susanjfowler.com/blog/2017/2/19/reflecting-on-one-very-strange-year-at-uber

What this article claims;
Fowler was pressured to remain under a manager who sexually harassed her, according to her account. She says HR responded by saying the company “wouldn’t feel comfortable” giving him more than a warning. She says she was then given a choice to leave her team, or continue doing her work — with the understanding it could result in a bad performance review from the manager who harassed her.
Now I can only speak for myself, but the woman's blog suggests to me that she was being pressured to switch teams telling her that if she stayed under this manager she would have to accept a negative performance review if he gave her one. But the linked article differs and it fact, it makes it sound like they told her she would have to accept a negative performance interview if she switches teams. Someone has something fucking backwards here.

Do not take my pointing this out as being supportive of Uber, critical of this woman, or accepting her blog at face value.

If you read her blog I think you'll get the idea that it wasn't so much the sexual harassment that got to her but the way she was pigeonholed into a position that offered no opportunities for her to advance.
 
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