Uber taps Eric Holder to investigate sexual harassment claims

Uber taps Eric Holder to investigate sexual harassment claims
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Uber is bringing on former U.S. Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderEric Holder group to sue Georgia over redistricting Eric Holder to Trump: 'Taking a knee is not without precedent' Juan Williams: Momentum builds against gerrymandering MORE to "conduct an independent review" of sexual harassment claims made by a former employee. 

"I believe in creating a workplace where a deep sense of justice underpins everything we do," Uber CEO Travis Kalanick wrote in a memo to the staff obtained by The Hill. ABC News first reported on Holder's hiring.

"What is driving me through all this is a determination that we take what’s happened as an opportunity to heal wounds of the past and set a new standard for justice in the workplace," Kalanick said in the memo.

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Uber is hiring Holder and Tammy Albarran, another partner from the law firm Covington & Burling, to spearhead the investigation. 

Arianna Huffington, an Uber board member, is also taking part in the review.  

The announcement comes days after a former Uber reliability engineer, Susan Fowler, wrote a blog post claiming that her complaints about being sexually harassed by one of the managers over online chats went unanswered.

“Upper management told me that he ‘was a high performer’ (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part," Fowler wrote on Sunday.

After reading Fowler's blog, Kalanick denounced the behavior described, calling it "abhorrent" and "against everything we believe in."

"Anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired," he added.

According to the memo, Uber plans to have an "all hands" meeting on Tuesday to discuss the event and the appropriate next steps.
 
Here is the full memo from Uber.
 
Team,
 
It’s been a tough 24 hours. I know the company is hurting, and understand everyone has been waiting for more information on where things stand and what actions we are going to take.
 
First, Eric Holder, former US Attorney General under President Obama, and Tammy Albarran — both partners at the leading law firm Covington & Burling — will conduct an independent review into the specific issues relating to the work place environment raised by Susan Fowler, as well as diversity and inclusion at Uber more broadly. Joining them will be Arianna Huffington, who sits on Uber’s board, Liane Hornsey, our recently hired Chief Human Resources Officer, and Angela Padilla, our Associate General Counsel. I expect them to conduct this review in short order.
 
Second, Arianna is flying out to join me and Liane at our all hands meeting tomorrow to discuss what’s happened and next steps. Arianna and Liane will also be doing smaller group and one-on-one listening sessions to get your feedback directly.  
 
Third, there have been many questions about the gender diversity of Uber’s technology teams. If you look across our engineering, product management, and scientist roles, 15.1% of employees are women and this has not changed substantively in the last year. As points of reference, Facebook is at 17%, Google at 18% and Twitter is at 10%. Liane and I will be working to publish a broader diversity report for the company in the coming months.
 
I believe in creating a workplace where a deep sense of justice underpins everything we do. Every Uber employee should be proud of the culture we have and what we will build together over time. What is driving me through all this is a determination that we take what’s happened as an opportunity to heal wounds of the past and set a new standard for justice in the workplace. It is my number one priority that we come through this a better organization, where we live our values and fight for and support those who experience injustice.
 
Thanks,
 
Travis