The charges stem from an investigation that started in 2017 when Uber found itself embroiled in several major scandals. Most notable were allegations that the company had permitted a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complained about such harassment. Sexual harassment at Uber became a widely discussed issue after Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer, published an account of the sexism and sexual harassment she experienced during her time there in February 2017.
The EEOC’s investigation found “reasonable cause” to believe those allegations, which violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the terms of the settlement, Uber agrees to establish a fund of $4.4 million to compensate anyone who the EEOC determines experienced sexual harassment and/or related retaliation after January 1st, 2014.
The company has also agreed to create a system for identifying employees who have been the subject of more than one harassment complaint and for identifying managers who fail to respond to concerns of sexual harassment in a timely manner, the EEOC says. Uber will update its policies with input from a third-party consultant and continue conducting climate surveys and exit interviews with specific attention to workplace sexual harassment and retaliation. Uber has also agreed to be monitored for three years by an outside party, former EEOC Commissioner Fred Alvarez.
Agency officials said they hope the agreement will empower not just Uber employees, but women throughout the tech sector to speak up against sexism in the workplace.
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