Uber allows more time for sexism probe, expects report by end of May

Uber’s management is expecting an external investigation of its workplace culture to report by the end of May.

The investigation was announced earlier this year after a storm of negative publicity following a blog post written by Susan Fowler, a female former employee, which contained allegations of sexual harassment and systemic sexism in the workplace.

In an internal memo sent by Uber board director Arianna Huffington yesterday, and obtained by Recode, the company briefly updates its employees on the progress of the investigation, saying that Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran, the partners at law firm Covington & Burling who are leading the probe, have requested and been granted more time “to complete their assessment”.

Huffington implies that the need for extra time for the investigation is a consequence of the volume of information already received, noting the investigators have received information from “hundreds of employees”.

However, according to Recode, several “key figures” including top HR execs have not yet been interviewed by Holder. It cites sources saying his intention is to conduct these outstanding interviews in the coming weeks.

We’re reached out to Uber for comment and will update this post with any response.

Fowler’s blog post contains plentiful references to problems she says she encountered with Uber’s HR department after reporting sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace to them. So it would be a huge oversight if the investigation did not thoroughly interrogate key HR figures.

Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick announced the investigation to Uber employees on February 20 — so if they stick to the end of May timeframe the probe will have lasted some three months.

The latest memo reads:

Subject line: An update on the Holder report

Hi everybody,

When Eric Holder and Tammy Albarrán began their review, the Board subcommittee (consisting of David Bonderman, Bill Gurley, and myself) to which Eric and Tammy have been reporting on a weekly basis assured them that they would have all the support and time necessary to conduct an intensive, thorough review of Uber’s workplace and culture. Eric and Tammy have now asked us for more time to complete their assessment, which includes information received from hundreds of employees through interviews and anonymous online focus groups and reflects the global scale of the company’s operations. To ensure that no stone is left unturned, the Board subcommittee has granted that request and we anticipate the report by the end of May.

Thank you,