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Uber to pay $4.4 million to settle sexual discrimination case

Uber has agreed to a $4.4 million settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over sexual discrimination charges, according to a release f...

Posted: Dec 21, 2019 10:37 AM

Uber has agreed to a $4.4 million settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over sexual discrimination charges, according to a release from the federal agency.

A 2017 sexual discrimination charge led to an EEOC investigation, which "found reasonable cause to believe that Uber permitted a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complained about such harassment," the release said.

The money will be used to set up a class fund to compensate anyone the EEOC determines experienced sexual harassment or retaliation after January 1, 2014.

As part of the settlement, Uber agreed to strengthen its business culture against such harassment and retaliation. It will also create a system for identifying employees who have been the subject of more than one harassment complaint and managers who fail to respond to harassment concerns. An outside party will monitor Uber for three years.

Notices about the settlement will be sent to all female employees who worked at Uber at any point between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2019.

"We've worked hard to ensure that all employees can thrive at Uber by putting fairness and accountability at the heart of who we are and what we do," Uber's Chief Legal Officer Tony West said in the EEOC's release. "I am extremely pleased that we were able to work jointly with the EEOC in continuing to strengthen these efforts."

Uber declined to comment beyond West's statement.

The federal probe into Uber's hiring practices, wages and sexual harassment began in August 2017 but only became public after a Wall Street Journal report in July 2018.

Uber has been at the center of intense scrutiny over allegations of sexual harassment and its handling of such instances and its workplace culture.

Founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick was pushed out in June 2018. His departure came more than a year after a former engineer published a blog post about experiencing sexism and harassment at Uber, which prompted an internal investigation, led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder, into its work environment.

The following month, two executives also left the company amid allegations they either mishandled claims of discrimination or made insensitive comments to women and minorities.

Uber has also faced safety concerns related to its ride-hailing platform.

In early December, Uber released a highly-anticipated safety report revealing, among other details, that it received 5,981 reports of sexual assault in 2017 and 2018. Among those, there were 464 reports of rape.

The report was released more than a year after a CNN investigation into sexual assault and abuse on the service.

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