It seems that for some companies, especially ones like Uber whose very business models are based on exploiting people for monetary gain, only the money matters. People come bottom of the pile. Few days ago, an open letter to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was written by Susan reflecting on her one very, very strange year at Uber. The letter is focusing on prevalent Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. And especially around the echo chamber that is Silicon Valley. The VP of HR and probably the rest of their staff need to be sent packing. Really sad as ultimately condoning this behavior will be the downfall of a great concept and business. Just to point out, this was in their corporate office, not Uber’s drivers sexually harassing women.
The article clearly states “alleged” as well as “I say men because that’s all I’ve dealt with.” The latter is the admittance that women can be abusers as well, but that she’s speaking from experience and not from a need to be politically correct so someone like you doesn’t freak out. For someone to claim what the woman from Uber is claiming over the internet could get her into legal trouble if she has no proof. There’s a better than good chance she has the proof she claimed in her article she had. Either way, the advice given here as to how someone should handle a situation like that if it WERE to happen is still solid advice.
The Way Women Dress has Nothing to Do with Sexual Harassment
Environment to be controlled by proper dress codes for females specially. In decent dressing and casual relationship also cased the sexual harassment. They could be wearing the least flattering battle fatigues and yet still be harassed by some of these disrespectful clowns. The person making the accusations has been heard (albeit it should have been addressed on day one) but the company has launched an investigation. Kuddos to leadership for bringing in an outside entity to investigate. This is very embarrassing to the leadership and hurtful to them because it happened on their watch.
The final dollar amount of the litigation/payout will be the single loudest voice Uber listens to. The one about firing the VP of HR. Of course he should be fired. What we don’t understand, how it is possible, that this mater is not resolved by lawyers. In EU we all the time hear stories that even opening the doors for lady may trigger harassment lawsuit. And suddenly, there is well documented case of harsh misbehavior, bossing, sexual harassment, and all the victim does is to ask HR to help her in situation, in which they repeatedly failed. Strange.
Leaders in Time of Adversity Learn One Important Lesson
Adversity doesn’t build character…it reveals it. Easy solution. Have an uber service for woman driven by woman. Well not quite so. This is a key statement: “how would you feel if this happened to your mom, wife and or daughter? ” Alternatively, the new VP of HR uses the facts of the investigation to clear out the deplorables under whom this behaviour flourished in the first place. How entrenched is this culture of harassment? No existing* senior executive wants to be seen as weak in addressing it, let alone an incoming one. Removing the VP will hobble him or her from day one. You don’t need to be a father of a young woman to abhor sexual harassment.
If such is the case at the helm of affairs, no wonders we get to hear of such Uber Drivers. But the bigger question we are being too polite to ask is, how come the CEO of the organization is unaware of such prevalent cultural issues? It is a QUESTION MARK on the leader of the organization. Is he not in touch with his people? Does he not have a sense of the pulse of the organization? Is that not something to be kept track of, apart from business numbers? There is no way a VP of HR can overlook such matters, so consistently and audaciously without support or knowledge of top management.
Sexual Harassment, is of itself, Deplorable…
When it happens to either female or male. Don’t be so quick to scoff at the idea that men face similar issues in the workplace. That said, it this authors open letter, outside of slamming the leadership while the incident is under investigation, which is a bit premature, we agree that sexual harassment training is essential for ALL employees at ANY organization in creating a safe and productive work environment. What the leadership team does next will be crucial for the stability of the company, their investors, employees and clients. Rather than seemingly “stirring the pot” and inciting an all out war against Uber, let the investigation unfold to a decisive conclusion and see what actions the leadership team takes, do diligent homework, analyze the outcomes and then voice well thought out opinions.
Belief Dictates Behavior
Finally, it is about our personal values, no matter how much we try to separate personal from professional. Change will happen when it becomes too uncomfortable to maintain the status quo. The status quo is determined at the top and filters down through the ranks. If Uber’s CEO is serious about change it will happen. If you do not posses the mental capacity to handle yourself in the workplace with women regardless of their dress, you do not belong in the workplace. Education is key and sexual harassment training done during the onboarding stage for new employees gets everyone on the same page to what the company’s policies, values and behavioral expectations are of their employees. Yes, it’s sad that some don’t understand what constitutes inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment, and thats where training comes in. Let’s hope Uber’s leaders take the opportunity to create positive change.
If an individual recommends ignoring legal counsel, and that recommendation ends up causing legal ramifications, would that directly impact their role as an advisor? Would that cause those who seek the advisor’s advice to question whose interest the advisor truly has at heart? Could this potentially be a career impacting recommendation? We have no reason to believe upper levels of Management are in collusion (however the investigation will expose that if so), and if so they will pay dearly at the individual & corporate level. We pray for the individual on the receiving end (harassed person) as no should have to endure this.