Uber CEO Taking 'Undetermined' Leave From the Company

Travis Kalanick Uber CEO

Uber CEO Taking 'Undetermined' Leave From the Company

Uber is taking the first of many steps to reverse its dysfunctional company culture.

His decision to take time off as CEO of Uber comes after a hard few months for the company, which has been under fire after former employee Susan Fowler alleged that Uber failed to adequately handle sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints.

The ride-hailing app, which has roughly 12,000 employees, hired the services of Holder to look into the company's work culture and contracted law firm Perkins Coie to review the specific harassment allegations.

The former Uber engineer whose shocking account of her experience of sexism and harassment at the company has a message for other would-be whistleblowers. She reported him to human resources, but was told he would get a lecture but no further punishment because he was a "high performer, " she wrote.

In addition, Uber must require that managers immediately report such conduct.

In an email to employees on Tuesday obtained by BuzzFeed News, Kalanick said he needed to take time off to "become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve".

The report also recommended creating an independent oversight board, beefing up diversity recruiting and retention efforts and, notably, reassigning some of Kalanick's responsibilities to others. Lawyers said the board should continue its search for a chief operating officer who is "diverse" and has a background in diversity and inclusion.

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The law firm has made recommendations on how to fix Uber's dysfunctional management.

Holder recommended rectifying one particular complaint of employees: moving the evening dinner hour to a time that "signals an earlier end to the work day". It exposes how the company permitted misconduct, had few policies to protect employees and ran with little board supervision.

Specifically, the recommendations call for adding independent members to the board of directors, including an independent chair.

That firm checked into 215 complaints, with 57 still under investigation. In the USA, less than a third of the company's workers are female. Its president, Jeff Jones, quit in March after less than six months. And last month, Uber fired Anthony Levandowski, the head of its autonomous-driving unit, for failing to help the company defend itself against allegations that he stole more than 14,000 documents from Google. He says consequences like that speak volumes to an employee base gauging whether a company is serious about changing its culture.

'Although it is not realistic to prohibit all romantic and intimate relationships in the workplace, it should be emphasized more generally that with respect to such relationships, Uber will not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, ' it said.

"There's a lot of data that shows that when there's one woman on the board, it's much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board", board member Arianna Huffington said, according to leaked audio published by Yahoo Finance.

"It was inappropriate", he wrote.

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