Sexual Harassment Claims By Ex Uber Engineer

Discussion in 'Working Women' started by Rihana, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber

    Recently, a former Uber engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti published the above blogpost. In that, she describes how on her first day at work she was propositioned by her manager who told her he was in an "open marriage." She went to HR but was told it was his offence and he was a high performer, so he'd get only a stern warning.

    The blogpost describes the rest of her one year at Uber, and the challenges and hurdles she faced at every step, and how HR did not do much to help her, and she was forced to move to a different group, and got negative performance reviews. She left Uber in about a year and says she did great work there, wrote an O'Reilly book also about the production-readiness process she used at Uber. While at Uber, she was also enrolled in Stanford's graduate CS program sponsored by Uber.

    Uber has since launched an investigation and CEO apologized on twitter.

    What do you think? Even big companies like Uber only pay lip service to fighting sexual harassment at work? There is more sexual harassment going on that we imagine? What do you think about the blogpost?
     
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  2. justanothergirl

    justanothergirl IL Hall of Fame

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  3. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    My first reaction on reading the blogpost was that it was refreshingly unemotional and very matter of fact. And a good thing - unless things go viral like this, not much happens.

    On closer reading of the blogpost, a few questions did crop up.
    Why couldn't she and the other women meet HR as a group? Was there really "nothing any of us could do?"

    The other thing was she was enrolled in a Stanford graduate program, working at Uber (known for its intense work atmosphere), did very well at her job, and within that year, also found the time to write a book?

    One your day one at work, your manager propositions you by chat, you have screenshots, and nothing gets done? And you continue to work there? Something doesn't sound right.

    And why a simple almost informal blogpost? Why not sue the company?
     
  4. justanothergirl

    justanothergirl IL Hall of Fame

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    No u would be actually surprised how few of us women there are in most engineering organizations.
    This should help with the stats. Its not easy to rally up women ..takes a while to build ur network and talk openly about these things.
    ಠ_ಠ on Twitter
    Welcome to corporate America! Wall street /law offices and other financial institutions things are much worse.
    Because its expensive to sue and not that easy.
    You would be surprised but a lesson I painfully learnt...HRs loyalty lies with the company (a.k.a ) upper management not u. No HR rep will ever admit harassment even if it hits it on the head. Legal ramifications. They will deny and quietly
    'let go' of the perpetrator months after the heat dies...and u as a victim will always face the brunt of retaliation. I do not know about this story....A friend of mine sent it but we both agreed over coffee that its not improbable given Ubers work culture.
     
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  5. rajatsingh

    rajatsingh Silver IL'ite

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    Would like to listen more on what you mean by ,"something".

    Please elaborate. Thanks.
     
  6. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Engineering organizations means? Places like Uber?

    My question was specific to the paragraph I quoted. The network was built, the blogpost author got in touch with other women whom that manager has propositioned or harassed, they met HR individually and HR later told the author that other than her no one reported anything bad about him. At that point, couldn't they meet HR as a group? It is a genuine question, not poking holes in her story. Does HR not allow meeting them in group of 2 or 3 also?

    Yes, I have read and heart about it. Including the recent cases of professors at prestigious universities getting away with a rap on the knuckles. But, I am trying to read this story also for what it says.

    HR loyalty always does lie with the company. They do what they need to do to not get sued. But, such a case of screenshots also being dismissed - I find hard to believe. Like one of the comments under that blogpost said - can she publish some evidence with identification details blurred out.

    That was my first reaction too, but on closer reading, there are many holes in the story. Will be interesting to read what Uber comes back with after their investigation. If you happen to read the blogpost, share what you think about its specifics. Am curious what you think about it other than a 'not improbable'.

    Ellen Pao's bias case against Kleiner Perkins comes to mind too.
     
  7. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Not much to elaborate. If the story is entirely accurate, it is very shocking. Would help to see "something" that is actual evidence of the harassment allegations.
     
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  8. justanothergirl

    justanothergirl IL Hall of Fame

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    Its possible. Each company has its own rules. Infact HRs will always try to meet 1-1 and never in groups to keep the meeting balanced. The take away to me and for friend is the sudden realization that we were not surprised anymore. Thats what made us sad when we talked. We had both come a long way from the shock and incredulity that first hit us many many years ago.
     
  9. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    The first thing to know about big corporations is that HR exists to protect the company, not you.
     
  10. momsky

    momsky Gold IL'ite

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    Sad but workplace sexual harassment is quite common in many parts of the world. Unless it is a major one like attempted rape, women, including myself, had to move on and work around smartly to avoid similar situation from happening again (esp. if there is alot of good things happening).
     

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