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Uber to investigate "abhorrent" sexual harassment claim

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Female engineer alleges her prospects at the company evaporated when she complained about advances from her boss
Last Updated Feb 20, 2017 7:44 AM EST
Travis Kalanick responded Monday on Twitter to an open statement by Susan Fowler Rigetti about her year at the ride-hailing app. In a blog post titled “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber,” Rigetti says the company’s human resources department ignored her complaints because her boss was a high performer.
I wrote something up this weekend about my year at Uber, and why I left: https://t.co/SyREtfLuZH
Kalanick says that what Rigetti described “is abhorrent,” and “against everything we believe in.”
He says he has instructed the company’s chief human resources officer to look into the matter, adding “there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber.”
2/ I’ve instructed our CHRO Liane to conduct an urgent investigation. There can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber.
Rigetti said she was quickly harassed after becoming a site reliability engineer at Uber from November 2015 to late last year.
“On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat,” she wrote. “He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t… It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him.”
Rigetti added that she was told by upper management that “they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.”
Kalanick said in a statement provided to CNET : “We seek to maker Uber a just workplace for everyone. There can be absolutely no place for this kind of behaviour at Uber.”
Arianna Huffington, one of Uber’s board members, tweeted:
Just talked w/ Travis & as a representative of Uber’s Board I will work w/Liane to conduct a full independent investigation starting now 1/2
According to CNET , women make up around 30 percent of the workforce at major tech companies, but take up only 15 percent of technical roles. In a 2016 survey of 200 women who had worked in Silicon Valley for over 10 years, 60 percent of respondents said they’d received unwanted sexual advances, 65 percent said those advances came from a superior and one of three said they were in fear for their personal safety.
Rigetti later tweeted thanks for the “overwhelming support” she had received:
I am so humbled by and thankful for the overwhelming support I’ve received today. Wow. So many thanks to you all.
My twitter and gmail apps are longer working thanks to all the messages! It will take me a while to reply to everyone but I will try!

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