Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will lead Uber’s investigation into sexual harassment claims made by an ex-employee, the company told its workforce on Monday.
In an email obtained by Reuters, The Guardian and other news organizations, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told his employees that Holder will lead an “independent review” of the claims that former Uber engineer Susan Fowler made in her now-viral blog post, as well as broader diversity issues at the company.
“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,” Kalanick wrote in the memo, according to The Guardian.
Fowler, who wrote about the year she spent working at the ride-hailing company, described an office culture that permitted rampant sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and a human resources department that did little to protect her and her female colleagues.
At one point, Fowler says, she was told she was on “thin ice” and in risk of being fired if she continued to report cases to HR.
“I reported his threat immediately after the meeting to both HR and to the CTO: they both admitted that this was illegal, but none of them did anything,” Fowler wrote.
Holder will be joined by his colleague Tammy Albarran, who is also a partner at the law firm Covington & Burling. Kalanick also said Uber board member Arianna Huffington, as well as the company’s human resources chief, Liane Hornsey, and the company’s associate general counsel, Angela Padilla, will help conduct the internal review.
After reading Fowler’s blog, Kalanick responded in a statement to HuffPost, “What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in.”
In his memo to employees, the Uber CEO said that women make up 15 percent of the company’s employees. Fowler said that just 3 percent of the engineers were women at the time she left.
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