Agency Commends Employer for Working Cooperatively With the EEOC on Harassment Prevention and Accountability
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (STL.News) Uber Technologies, Inc. has entered into a nationwide agreement to strengthen its business culture against sexual harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
This settlement resolves a 2017 EEOC Commissioner’s Charge of sex discrimination, ending an extensive investigation in which the EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that Uber permitted a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complained about such harassment, in violation Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The pre-litigation agreement was voluntarily entered into by Uber and obtained through the EEOC’s conciliation process.
Uber will establish a class fund of $4.4 million to compensate anyone who the EEOC determines experienced sexual harassment and/or related retaliation after January 1, 2014. In addition, the company has 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. It will also 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 agreed to be monitored for 3 years by an outside party, former EEOC Commissioner Fred Alvarez.
“This resolution demonstrates the benefits of working cooperatively with EEOC and serves as a model for businesses committed to truly leveling the playing field where opportunity is not circumscribed by one’s gender,” said EEOC Chair Janet Dhillon.
EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic, co-chair of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace who also initiated the Commissioner’s charge after widespread publicity in 2017 concerning the treatment of female employees at Uber, said, “This agreement holds Uber accountable, and, going forward, positions the company to innovate and transform the tech industry by modeling effective measures against sexual harassment and retaliation.”
EEOC San Francisco District Director William Tamayo added, “In particular, employers should take note of Uber’s commitment to holding management accountable and identifying repeat offenders so that high-performing, superstar harassers are not allowed to continue their behavior. The tech industry, among others, has often ignored allegations of sexual harassment when an accused harasser is seen as more valuable to the company than the accuser.”
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Ami Sanghvi, who advised on the investigation, added, “This agreement will hopefully empower women in technology to speak up against sexism in the workplace knowing that their voices can yield meaningful change.”
Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West said, “We’ve worked hard to ensure that all employees can thrive at Uber by putting fairness and accountability at the heart of who we are and what we do. I am extremely pleased that we were able to work jointly with the EEOC in continuing to strengthen these efforts.”
A claims administrator will be sending notices to all female employees who worked at Uber at any time between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2019. Potential claimants will be able to submit a response to a questionnaire that will allow the EEOC to determine whether they may be eligible for monetary relief. For information about the claims process, contact Senior Federal Investigator responsible for investigating the Commissioner’s Charge, Malinda Tuazon at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 522-3126.