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Does Uber have a corporate culture problem?

Uber has become a cautionary tale for the freewheeling, Silicon Valley-style corporate culture. At the top of the company food chain is Travis Kalanick, the CEO who himself has earned a reputation for open defiance rules and regulations.

Uber has grown into a $70 million company with 12,000 employees that dominates the ride-hailing industry. However, that trail blazed by Kalanick already has a few stumbles along the way.

Uber’s workplace environment began to spill into public view when a former engineer blogged that a supervisor sexually harassed her. She also alleged that the company’s human resourced department ignored the claim. Emboldened by her story, other employees came forward to report serious behavioral issues that were also ignored, primarily because the workers delivered strong performance and aggressive growth.

After the accusations went public, Uber launched an internal investigation to tackle what many saw as deep-seated management and cultural issues. The company also established a hotline for employees to report specific issues confidentially.

Provided with unfettered access, attorneys poured through internal documents and emails. They also interviewed both current and former employees to corroborate the former employee’s blog post.

The investigation revealed 215 cases of workplace violations filed by staff. Forty-seven involved sexual harassment while 54 related to discrimination. Others encompassed additional categories that included bullying, retaliation, physical security and nonsexual types of harassment.

Of those claims, 100 resulted in no action.

The result of that data and a broader review led to the firing of 20 employees over accusations of harassment, discrimination and inappropriate behavior. While Uber did not release the now ex-staff members’ names, the sheer number that included senior-level management provides an indication of a highly toxic work environment.

In addition to the employees let go, thirty-one are now undergoing some form of workplace training and seven have received final warnings.

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