Uber to pay $4.4 million to end federal sex harassment investigation

Uber Technologies Inc

Uber Technologies Inc. is going to pay a $4.4 million to settle a federal investigation into accusations that the San Francisco company permitted a rampant culture of sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declared Wednesday.

The agreement finishes an investigation started in 2017 in which the commission found reasonable cause to consider that the ride-hailing tech company allowed “a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complained about such harassment.”

A claims administrator will notify women who worked at Uber between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 30, 2019. The commission will figure out which claimants may require money from the $4.4 million fund.

The company has also accepted to create a system to identify serial offenders and managers who fail to reply to concerns regarding sexual harassment in a timely manner.

The commission started the investigation following a blog post from a former Uber engineer who exposed sexual harassment at the company, including proposals from her boss. Susan Fowler said her complaints to human resources were overlooked.

The company fired 20 people, consisting of some managers, following an investigation by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm.

The commission’s district director in San Francisco, William Tamayo, praised Uber’s commitment to accountability, and stated the “tech industry, among others, has often overlooked accusations of sexual harassment when an accused harasser appears as more valuable to the company compared to the accuser.”

Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West stated he was pleased to collaborate with the commission on the settlement.

As part of its bid to boost transparency, Uber stated earlier this month that over 3,000 sexual assaults were reported during its U.S. rides last year. Drivers and riders were both attacked in the reported assaults, and some of the assaults took place between riders.

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