Following a scathing report of sexual harassment at Uber over the weekend, CEO Travis Kalanick hosted an all-hands meeting today, along with board member Arianna Huffington and Chief Human Resources Officer Liane Hornsey, to discuss the company’s next steps.
The allegations come from former Uber engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti, who penned an essay claiming she was propositioned by another member of her team. But when Rigetti raised concerns with HR she was told this other person was a “high performer” and therefore went unpunished.
Over the course of the year, Rigetti learned of several other women who had experienced similar treatment, including from this same person by whom she had initially been propositioned.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has since called for an independent investigation and invited members of his board to speak to the company.
Huffington released an update to what was discussed in that all-hands meeting this morning in a post on Uber’s newsroom with the following:
I just joined Travis and Liane Hornsey, Uber’s recently hired Chief Human Resources Officer, for the company’s weekly meeting. We spent over an hour discussing women in the workplace — and talking about the review that’s underway by Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran into diversity and inclusion at Uber.
Travis spoke very honestly about the mistakes he’s made — and about how he wants to take the events of the last 48-hours to build a better Uber. It was great to see employees holding managers accountable. I also view it as my responsibility to hold the leadership team’s feet to the fire on this issue.
Change doesn’t usually happen without a catalyst. I hope that by taking the time to understand what’s gone wrong and fixing it we can not only make Uber better but also contribute to improvements for women across the industry.
Kalanick also seemed visibly upset in that same meeting today but claimed to be unaware of the sexual harassment allegations at the company he helms, according to a BuzzFeed report.
Uber CTO Thuan Pham, who also spoke at the meeting, called Rigetti’s allegations “an utter failure,” and said Uber does not place high performers over another person’s abuse, according to BuzzFeed. However, Pham allegedly threatened Rigetti with termination after she raised her concerns to the CTO earlier.
Hornsey added she would work to make “a new Uber,” and then held a 90-minute listening session following the all-hands meeting today, according to the same report.
This meeting comes after TechCrunch obtained an internal memo from Kalanick yesterday, which further explained the details of the independent investigation Uber plans to conduct around the sexual harassment allegations. Kalanick also notified employees that the company has brought on former US Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as Tammy Albarran of law firm Covington & Burling, to lead the investigation.