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Uber CEO orders ‘urgent investigation’ into sexual harassment claim by former employee

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has ordered an urgent investigation into claims of sexual harassment by a female engineer who alleged that her prospects at the company evaporated when she complained about advances from her boss.

India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [Published on:20 Feb 2017, 5:57 PM IST]
Uber CEO orders investigation into sexual harassment claim
Uber CEO orders investigation into sexual harassment claim by former employee

Uber's chief executive has ordered an "urgent investigation" into claims of sexual harassment by a female engineer who alleged that her prospects at the company evaporated when she complained about advances from her boss.

Responding to an open statement by Susan Fowler Rigetti about her year at the ride-hailing app, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Travis Kalanick said on Twitter that he has instructed company’s chief human resources officer to conduct an urgent investigation into the claims. 

In a blog post titled "Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber," Rigetti says the company's human resources department ignored her complaints because her boss was a high performer.

Kalanick said that what Rigetti described "is abhorrent," and "against everything we believe in" adding "there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber."

“What's described here is abhorrent and against everything we believe in. Anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired. I've instructed our CHRO Liane to conduct an urgent investigation. There can be absolutely no place for this kind of behaviour at Uber,” he said in a series of tweets. 

Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post and a member of Uber's board, said in a tweet that she talked to Travis and would work with the company's chief human resources officer Liane Hornsey to “conduct a full independent investigation starting now.”

Fowler wrote in her blog post published Sunday that she was subjected to sexual advances by her boss but when she reported the offense to human resources officials and management, they declined to punish the offender because he "was a high performer." 

She said that her manager used the company's chat software to try "to get me to have sex with him." She took screenshots of the messages and reported him but management said "they wouldn't feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part." 

Fowler is now an engineer at payments company Stripe.