Recently, a female engineer who left Uber disclosed a personal account of her year at the company on her personal blog. And guess what: it included A LOT of sexual harassment and weird, inappropriate treatment by higher ups and male staff that went completely unpunished.
No, me either.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is pretty common, whether your company be large or small. If you're a woman, you're familiar with this already. The inappropriate comment from your coworker, the forward advance from your boss, that guy getting a little too up in your personal space at the Christmas party.
Here is Susan J. Fowler's personal account of her time at Uber from her blog.
First, there were the messages
"On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn't. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn't help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR."
She reported it to HR, but no one cared
"I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man's first offense, and that they wouldn't feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to. 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."
She was told that she could either stay on his team and put up with his advances (or hope they wouldn't happen again,) or switch teams within the company.
She decided to switch, and take time to learn a new role all over again.
She found out that it was NOT his first advance. In fact, he'd been harassing LOADS of women, but HR kept saying that he was a first time offender.
"I began to meet more women engineers in the company. As I got to know them, and heard their stories, I was surprised that some of them had stories similar to my own. Some of the women even had stories about reporting the exact same manager I had reported, and had reported inappropriate interactions with him long before I had even joined the company. It became obvious that both HR and management had been lying about this being "his first offense", and it certainly wasn't his last. Within a few months, he was reported once again for inappropriate behavior, and those who reported him were told it was still his "first offense". The situation was escalated as far up the chain as it could be escalated, and still nothing was done."
There was also this weird thing with leather jackets
"One day, all of the women (there were, I believe, six of us left in the org) received an email saying that no leather jackets were being ordered for the women because there were not enough women in the organization to justify placing an order. I replied and said that I was sure Uber SRE could find room in their budget to buy leather jackets for the, what, six women if it could afford to buy them for over a hundred and twenty men."
You can read the full account here.