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Uber dismisses Amit Singhal amid furore over sexual harassment allegations

Uber Technologies Inc has asked senior executive Amit Singhal to leave the company for failing to disclose a sexual harassment allegation stemming from his tenure at Alphabet Inc's Google, an Uber spokesperson said on Monday.

BT Online | February 28, 2017 | Updated 17:09 IST
Uber asks executive to resign for not disclosing sexual harassment allegation

In the past week, cab aggregator Uber has drawn flak over allegedly ignoring cases of sexual harassment at work, but now the firm has taken a decisive step on a related issue.

Uber Technologies Inc has asked senior executive Amit Singhal to leave the company for failing to disclose a sexual harassment allegation stemming from his tenure at Alphabet Inc's Google, an Uber spokesperson said on Monday.

Singhal, who was hired in January, did not disclose the allegations when Uber hired him, nor were they revealed by reference checks, the Uber spokeswoman said.

Singhal did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. In a statement to Recode he denied the allegation of harassment but acknowledged a dispute with Google.

"Harassment is unacceptable in any setting. I certainly want everyone to know that I do not condone and have not committed such behavior," Singhal wrote to Recode. "In my 20-year career, I've never been accused of anything like this before and the decision to leave Google was my own."

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The trouble over sexual harassment brewed in the US-based firm's premises when its former employee, Susan Fowler made startling revelations, claiming that she and other female colleagues faced sexual harassment at Uber.

Fowler further claimed that nobody took her complaint seriously when she reported the incident to the company's Human Resource department and top level management. In her blog she wrote that she was told that nothing could be done about the perpetrator because he "was a high performer".

Fowler wrote in her blog, "I expected that I would report him to HR, they would handle the situation appropriately, and then life would go on - unfortunately, things played out quite a bit differently. When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man's first offense, and that they wouldn't feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to. Upper management told me that he "was a high performer" (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn't feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part".

Taking cognizance of the matter, CEO Travis Kalanick ordered probe. Responding to the blog post, he tweeted, "What's described here is abhorrent & against everything we believe in. Anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired".

In his next tweet, Kalanick mentioned that he ordered probe to know the truth and promised that "anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired."

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder was taken on-board to investigate the matter. Arianna Huffington, who joined Uber's board last year, and Uber's chief human resources officer with the company's associate general counsel were also part of the investigative team.

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