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Sunday 17 December 2017

Uber dismisses more than 20 employees after law firm's probe

Uber hired Perkins Coie to investigate complaints from employees
Uber hired Perkins Coie to investigate complaints from employees

Uber has fired more than 20 employees after a law firm investigated complaints of sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination and other violations of company policies.

The recent firings included both managers and lower-level workers, some of whom retaliated against employees after they complained about bad conduct at the ride-hailing firm, said Bobbie Wilson, a Perkins Coie partner involved in the investigation.

Uber Technologies Inc retained the firm after former engineer Susan Fowler posted a blog in February about sex harassment at the company. Ms Fowler wrote that on her first day at work her boss propositioned her in a series of messages.

The Perkins Coie probe is separate from one being done by former Attorney General Eric Holder. He is likely to make broader recommendations on how to change Uber's culture when his report is released publicly next week.

Separately, Uber announced on Tuesday that it has hired Apple marketing executive Bozoma Saint John, who will be Uber's chief brand officer. She ran global consumer marketing of Apple Music and iTunes. Her task at Uber will be to improve its brand image so people like it as well as they like the company's ride services, an Uber spokeswoman said.

After Ms Fowler's blog posting, Uber set up a 24-hour hotline to take complaints from employees, and hired Perkins Coie to investigate them. The firm checked into 215 complaints, and 57 remain under investigation. The hotline will remain in operation.

The probe into Ms Fowler's complaints is still under way, and Ms Wilson would not say if any of those fired, or 31 other employees placed in counselling, were involved in that.

Ms Wilson said Uber gave her law firm "unfettered access" to people and documents that were needed for the Fowler investigation.

Uber is the number one ride-hailing company in the US and is valued at nearly 70 billion dollars (£54 billion).

AP

Press Association

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