Uber's HR Head: 'No benefit' in meeting sexual harassment victim

Uber's HR Head: 'No benefit' in meeting sexual harassment victim

In February this year, Uber had to face up to allegations of unchecked sexual harassment after an ex-engineer posted a blog revealing that her line-manager went unpunished after making sexual advances.

With the incident sparking a ‘top and tail’ investigation of Uber’s culture, Uber’s Head of HR had to manage a very public fallout– yet she’s also revealed that she doesn’t believe meeting Susan Fowler, the engineer who wrote the damning post, would have any benefit. She did, however, thank her.

Fowler, a writer, engineer and start-up advisor, wrote in her, now infamous, blogpost that her male supervisor made advances but that HR wouldn’t punish him as he was a “high performer”.

Yet, although their lives are intertwined around the same issue, Liane Hornsey, Uber’s HR Chief, explained to the Wall Street Journal that she doesn’t believe a meeting would hold utility.

She said: "I have said, very publicly, “Thank you” to her because she raised some stuff that did lead to change. I don’t know whether there would be any benefit in meeting her. I’m seriously working for my employees today; she’s an ex-employee."

In reaction, Susan Fowler wrote on Twitter: “She really, really doesn’t like me.”

It’s widely agreed that Fowler’s blogpost acted as a catalyst for change at the firm – with Uber eventually firing over 20 people. Hornsey noted the ex-engineer’s effect on the firm to the WSJ.

She added: "The Susan Fowler blog was very difficult for this company. We did 200 listening sessions. I made it very clear that every single email from every single employee would be answered by me in 48 hours. Believe you me, I sat up until 4 am every bloody morning answering thousands of bloody emails." 

Since Fowler left in 2016, Uber ousted its CEO, hired a new one and experienced culture and boardroom turmoil.

Hornsey promises that the firm are looking at changing their hiring practises to combat problems. Many believe this is not enough and ignores actual problems at the firm.

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