back to article In colossal shock, Uber alleged to be wretched hive of sexism, craven managerial ass-covering

Colour us surprised: a Silicon Valley darling famous for belligerent market entries, raising middle fingers at regulators and having a relaxed attitude to tax has been accused of also completing a bingo-card of bad management that includes sexism, arse ass-covering, empire-building and malicious management. That startup is …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just look at Uber's CEO

    With "leadership" like that, of course it will be totally dysfunctional.

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

      I know Uber are a bunch of cnuts, but it would be nice to hear Uber's side of the story...

      1. dan1980

        Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

        @Dr Scrum Master

        ". . . it would be nice to hear Uber's side of the story . . ."

        Me, not so much.

        If you've read Susan's story in full, it is clear that the key problem is not sexism but an overall toxicity in management. Staff and managers can be sexist, misogynist, racist or out-right assholes and that can happen in any company. BUT, what allows it to fester is an upper-level management that doesn't care.

        The big red flag I see is not the actions themselves (however unacceptable) but the response of the HR team. Because, again, 'bad apples' can turn up in any organisation and can bully and threaten people into being quiet, taking credit for other people's work and thus appearing to higher-ups as performing very well. Once sexist behaviour is actually reported to HR, however, that's when the wheels should come to a screeching halt.

        Don't get me wrong - a report of sexist behaviour or harassment is not proof of anything* but an actual screenshot of an undeniably unacceptable message is more than enough to get the process well underway.

        So why wasn't it?

        The answer, I would suggest, is that HR was not given the mandate to ensure the workplace was free of such behaviour. Put simply, the action taken regarding sexual harassment should never depend on the perpetrator's job performance - these are separate measures on which one should be judged and a good performance in one does nothing to mitigate unacceptable conduct in the other.

        In the matter of harassment (of any kind), HR should be entirely parallel to the rest of the management structure and thus their direction should come from the very highest levels at the company. In short, if this is the kind of thing that Kalanick asserts is "against everything we believe in", then there should have been an HR process robust and independent enough to support this.

        It's a trope in movies (etc...) for a situation that has turned dramatically southward to be taken control of by the designated military/security person - 'this is now a military operation, sir', and so forth. The idea being that once some conditions have been met, the person in charge switches from some civilian/politician to the ranking military officer.

        That's how HR should work in when it comes to harassment.

        So, either HR does not have this mandate from the highest levels or some of the lower levels in HR refused to do their job and take control of the situation, independent of the day-to-day concerns of performance levels and projects.

        If it is the latter then those staff should be fired, too, but it also opens the question of why matters of harassment are not reported - as a matter of course - to the highest levels of HR. In other words, the CHRO or one of the CHRO's direct reports.

        If it's the former, Kalanick really has to ask himself why this is not the case, given, apparently, "there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber".

        Bad apples occur and you deal with them. If they aren't dealt with, the problem ceases being just the conduct of individual staff members and starts being the priorities, practices and culture of management, which is something that should come from the very top.

        Given how big start-ups are on spouting self-aggrandising 'visions' and 'missions' and, so frequently, pontificating as though the can solve all the world's ills, passing the blame down the chain is not acceptable. You've got to accept that you haven't worked hard enough to ensure that the appropriate staff (HR) are instructed and empowered to take the necessary steps.

        On a semi-related note, I read through Susan's bio and her activities and she seems like a f%$king awesome human.

        * - Though they should always be taken seriously and handled according to a standard process.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

          A harassment free workplace goes both ways. You can't allow employees to bully each other using the HR complaints process.

          We don't know the full story here. Did she tell him she was uncomfortable before going to HR? What did he actually say? What was the context?

          If you've got a toxic employee who runs to HR screaming racial/religious/sexual discrimination at every opportunity then the organisation, at all levels, will turn against them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

            A harassment free workplace goes both ways. You can't allow employees to bully each other using the HR complaints process.

            I've been on both sides of the fence on this, which is why our new companies have open discussion on these matters (guidance and governance, not on individual aspects, of course) which require a mandatory involvement of the board. We're also actively working on ensuring we do not have discrimination of any kind. Sometimes that isn't easy as demographics and even trends get in the way, but we know this does not take a one off effort with some fancy slogans and cute posters - it is a continuing commitment - at board level.

            I don't buy the Tweets from CEO Travis Kalanick for one second as this is something he must have been aware of or he simply wasn't doing his job. Oh, and we don't consider tweeting a viable business communication mechanism, even if some president is using it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

              > which is why our new companies have open discussion on these matters (guidance and governance, not on individual aspects, of course) which require a mandatory involvement of the board. We're also actively working on ensuring we do not have discrimination of any kind. Sometimes that isn't easy as demographics and even trends get in the way, but we know this does not take a one off effort with some fancy slogans and cute posters - it is a continuing commitment - at board level.

              100% agree on this, as we are on the same boat.

              It is really not easy, as mentioned above. There is still a lot of covert and indirect discrimination going on, even coming from otherwise very sensible people.

              I have to say that part of it seems to be systemic, with a blatant case in point being mismatched maternity and paternity social benefits. When those are unequal, there is a strong incentive, especially at smaller companies, not to hire women. In some cases, this can mean the difference between being in the black or in the red, which is very annoying to say the least. We do not want to fall into this trap so are looking at ways we can counteract this bias.

              Of course, this is all very different from making explicit sexual advances, especially from superior to subordinate, which at least in our case--and we believe, in much of Europe--opens a legal can of worms for the company itself. That is utterly unprofessional and raises serious questions as to the perpetrator's maturity and emotional stability.

          2. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

            Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

            She got a proposal for sex over the company's chat.

            There is no need for her to say that she is "uncomfortable" with that, since it is a definite act of sexual harassment.

            1. Adam 52 Silver badge

              Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

              "She got a proposal for sex over the company's chat."

              No she didn't. Try reading what she said.

              1. creepy gecko
                Facepalm

                Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

                "" "She got a proposal for sex over the company's chat."

                No she didn't. Try reading what she said. ""

                "None of which was enough for someone to treat her as anything but “fresh meat” when she joined. “On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat,” in which said manager propositioned her for sex."

                Err....to me that reads as though she got a proposition for sex over the company's chat from her new manager.

              2. Kristian Walsh

                Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

                Here's "what she said", as you forgot to include the quote in your rebuttal:

                On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn't. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn't help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with.

                There's no other way to read that except as a proposal for sex. That something like this happened on her first day reporting to that manager says a lot about how fucked up Uber is as a workplace.

                1. Michael Thibault
                  Headmaster

                  Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

                  KW wrote:

                  "you forgot to include the quote in your rebuttal:

                  (SJF wrote:) 'On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string... He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn't help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with.'"

                  The last line is, in fact, unclear, as--wait for it--it doesn't include quote marks; you could read it as being the sum of what the new manager wrote (apart from the "he said"), or you could read it as "He was trying to stay out of trouble at work", he said, but he couldn't... If you account for the ambiguity about what is being described, and to whom what text is being attributed, it isn't possible to say that "There's no other way to read that except as a proposal for sex".

                  Even so, just mentioning to a new 'inferior' word one about the nature of his relationship with his 'intimate partner'/girlfriend was a step too far in the direction of uncomfortable.

              3. Roo
                Windows

                Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

                Ah look, a Fake Rebuttal to go with all that Fake News that is going around.

                ""She got a proposal for sex over the company's chat."

                No she didn't. Try reading what she said."

                I suggest you RTFA first.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

            > We don't know the full story here.

            Then, Adam, perhaps it'd be wise to refrain from opining?

          4. Just Enough
            Facepalm

            Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

            "Did she tell him she was uncomfortable before going to HR? What did he actually say? What was the context?"

            You'd think that Uber doesn't employ morons for managers. But what exactly about sending a brand new staff member messages about your problems getting laid at work, and your open relationship with your girlfriend, does this particular moron think is acceptable managerial behaviour?

            In what "context" is it ever ok to discuss your sex life with a member of your staff who you barely know? I can see how it might be ok with a long-term team member, who you know well, who knows you well, with whom you have a personal friendship. But a new team member? A relative stranger? On their first day? If this guy was just a co-worker, it would be creepy, truly pathetic and sexual harassment. The fact he was her manager makes it all the above, plus a misuse of his position.

            So how much of a moron does the manager need to be, to need it first explained to him that this might, just possibly, make someone "uncomfortable"?

            1. dan1980

              Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

              @Just Enough

              "So how much of a moron does the manager need to be . . ."

              To repeat my argument, it is possible to have moron managers at any company who think they should be able to do it. BUT, it must be made clear what is and isn't acceptable behaviour.

              A standard moron, sexist, bullying manager will do this to someone's face - i.e. in a way that makes it 'your word against mine'. To actually do such a thing over chat, which can be proven, requires not just a manager who is behaving unacceptably but a culture that allows the manager to believe - accurately it seems - that they can operate with impunity.

          5. Oh Homer
            Childcatcher

            Re: "goes both ways"

            Before the anti-feminist brigade pervert this into a crusade against "whining women", I suggest they read the full blog post, which recounts in detail how Uber's workplace culture is like "a game-of-thrones political war", filled with gleefully hostile back-stabbers, who are given complete impunity by a morally bankrupt HR, which is apparently manned by the three wise monkeys.

          6. macjules Silver badge

            Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

            Umm, where else should they run to? An attorney? Sexual Harrassment Panda?

          7. dan1980

            Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

            @Adam 52

            "Did she tell him she was uncomfortable before going to HR? What did he actually say? What was the context?"

            I'm a bit late chiming in on this (time zones and all that) so you may have already done this but, well, read Susan's post.

            If you do, you will see that, not only are the words of the manager clearly a proposition for sex, the HR team actually agreed with Susan that this is what it was and still insisted they would only give a warning and that said manager was fully within his rights to mark her negatively in her performance review for the complaint. No, really, They told her that if she didn't move to another team, that manager's action could not be considered retribution.

            If that doesn't spin your head around, nothing will, because that is so large an outright betrayal of responsibility (to keep employees safe).

            But, even pretending this wasn't quite so obvious and egregious a case, why should an employee have to confront the person directly? Indeed, that's - depending on the situation - sometimes expressly discouraged as some organisations mandate that you take your grievances to HR so that the proper processes can be followed and the authorised and qualified people can manage the process.

            But, further, even if that isn't company policy (and it clearly wasn't in that part of Uber), why should she need to handle it on her own first? What if it was direct bullying? Should she have to confront her tormentor before HR will help?

            I say no - the legitimacy and/or actionability of a harassment claim should not depend on whether the victim has tried to fix it themselves first.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

        > it would be nice to hear Uber's side of the story...

        I agree in a general sense that in a dispute (if a dispute there is) both sides have to be heard, but your comments sounds a bit too close to being apologetic ("but Your Honour, she was dressed provocatively!") for comfort.

        1. Dr Scrum Master

          Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

          > it would be nice to hear Uber's side of the story...

          I agree in a general sense that in a dispute (if a dispute there is) both sides have to be heard, but your comments sounds a bit too close to being apologetic ("but Your Honour, she was dressed provocatively!") for comfort.

          Dear Mr Coward, considering that I wrote "I know Uber are a bunch of cnuts, but it would be nice to hear Uber's side of the story..." I would have thought you, dear reader, might have deduced that I was not blaming the woman and that I was also no fan of Uber's management and their practices to-date. However, for reasons of journalistic completeness I generally appreciate the tale from the opposing side, whilst in Uber's case I expect that to be an exercise in weasel-worded PR bullshit which may prove entertaining or may provoke a reaction of sickened exasperation - or both.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

            > Dear Mr Coward, considering that I wrote "I know Uber are a bunch of cnuts, but it would be nice to hear Uber's side of the story..." I would have thought you, dear reader, might have deduced that I was not blaming the woman and that I was also no fan of Uber's management and their practices to-date. However, for reasons of journalistic completeness I generally appreciate the tale from the opposing side

            Fair enough. I do believe the company's CEO public reaction, condemning the occurrence, has been published though, at least by the time I got to read the article.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

        The word disruptive all too often is cover for rich sociopath assholes to be themselves in any context.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

      Given how abusive Uber's business model is, basically a clone of the worse possible version of sharecropping, why would anyone expect Uber to treat it's employees with respect?

      1. Michael Thibault

        Re: Just look at Uber's CEO

        I'm heartened to see that the majority commenting in the thread get the idea that there are not only lines you don't cross, but lines you don't even approach. Not surprised, though; I doubt there's much playing against type going on.

        SJF wrote: "I don't know what I expected ..."

        I'm willing to jump to the conclusion (yes) that the statement above is rhetorical. In real life, this was UBER. It is UBER! You'd have to be living long under a very-deeply-buried rock not to have just a tiny inkling that there is something a-twitch in UBER's public face. So there had, and has, to be something sketchy going on below.

        Don't feed the juggernaut! Even if just the opportunity to do so activates the "But I Need It" reflex--whether you need it to get home, save money getting around, keep your ass from being transferred to the social sling, or you need it to exercise your chops and move your professional career ahead. Just don't do it; you're creating and re-creating the context and culture that you'll eventually be beaten down by.

        Doubtless this little screed will be parked in the blaming-the-victim spot, but... ugh, never mind.

  2. P. Lee Silver badge
    Coat

    A hive of donkey coverers?

    Only in America...

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: A hive of donkey coverers?

      Sexual harassment in the UK is just as major an issue. I might hazard that sexual discrimination can be far worse. I have yet to see any ladies in charge of an SRE division here, but I know some totally moronic men who are in charge of very large software testing departments (no names, but its a capital company to work for).

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: A hive of donkey coverers?

        I have yet to see any ladies in charge of an SRE division here

        On the plus side (in the context of this discussion) we're now onto our second female Prime Minister and this time it pretty much came down to a choice between two women.

        I suppose what's sad about that is that sexual discrimination is still a thing here despite such advances :-/

  3. Youngone

    I don't work at Uber but...

    Where I work, we'd love to be able to game the performance review system but we can't.

    The way it works is that everyone gets a 5, which is not quite enough for a bonus payment, but is considered satisfactory.

    If anyone asks how the 5 was arrived at, they're told that information is senstive.

    1. HurdImpropriety

      Re: I don't work at Uber but...

      Be grateful you didn't work at HP! They were masters at the RANK and YANK stacked review process where 5% of a managers employees were REQUIRED to get a FAIL (or bottom) grade. Then those people were automatically put on performance reviews. HP was a SUCK PLACE TO WORK. EVERY YEAR a few good people were let go...sometimes a deadwood but most of the time it was always good people. Thank you to JACK WELCH former CEO of GE who introduced SIX SIGMA and the usually following behind that RANK and YANK employee grading and yanking system.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't work at Uber but...

        Rank and yank sure helped Ballmer get Microsoft to think outside the box huh? As for HP the HP way officially died when the board started breaking the law simply for petty squabbles quite some time ago. One might even make a good argument it died when the brilliant idea to buy Compaq went through.

        1. Lotaresco Silver badge

          Re: I don't work at Uber but...

          "One might even make a good argument [HP] died when the brilliant idea to buy Compaq went through."

          If not then, then definitely when they tried to introduce their own fondle-slab without having a clue about what the market was or even if there was a market. The only rationale seemed to be "We're HP people will buy anything we make. We can force corporates to take anything we want to sell them. There's no need for an app store, or even any applications. And we'll charge more than Apple because we're HP and we're better than those upstarts."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Rank and yank

        Well, 5% of any company's employees are in that company's bottom 5%...

        The problem is in assuming they are equally distributed amongst managers, and that the company's worst employees not contributing anything useful. The former is obviously false, the latter is 100% true based on my having consulted with/for HP on several occasions and finding a lot of deadwood they could easily be rid of. Unfortunately when you do cost-cutting layoffs you typically lose more of the good employees who can easily find another job, so the more of those untargeted layoffs you do the greater the percentage of deadwood. That was easy to see in HP from 1999 to 2012 (when I last worked with them)

        I always said based on my experience you don't have an 80/20 rule in IT. You have more of a 10/80/10 rule. 10% of the employees do 80% of the work, 80% of the employees do 40% of the work, and 10% of the employees do -20% of the work. It is the ones who make more work for others you want to be rid of. Whether rank and yank is the best way, I don't know, but I do believe that you must have some method for getting rid of those people.

        The trick is identifying them - as an outsider, I could do it, but as an insider it would be a lot harder due to friendships protecting the worthless, and bad managers trying to take advantage of that system to get rid of good performers who they dislike, are threatened by, or because they have to get rid of someone and don't want to get rid of their fishing buddy who constantly breaks stuff.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Rank and yank

          I'd say you've nailed it perfectly DougS.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't work at Uber but...

        > They were masters at the RANK and YANK stacked review process where 5% of a managers employees were REQUIRED to get a FAIL (or bottom) grade.

        Never understood the idea behind that approach. I just assume that it's like the vast majority of business "methodologies" that we use: snake oil.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Careful there...

    Uber is cutting into the market share of some very big companies. Not only that, they're doing it on an international scale. Meaning: that will create bad blood and despite what you may think some "well established & fair" companies do know how to hit below the belt.

    Now.. sure, there might be truth to this. But seriously... After seeing an almost continuing story on how bad Uber is, how much the governmentS (S <- important detail) hate them (even the Dutch government) and most of all how the "establishment" (taxi companies) only focus on "uber = bad. Must. Destroy. Uber." while totally ignoring the very reason why Uber became so popular I can only conclude that Uber is irritating them so it must go.

    The sooner the better, then they can go back to charging us E 20,- for driving into a few streets (5 min) while Uber would have charged you E 5,-. Not to mention refusing to take you as customer because the trip is too short (this honestly happens in Holland) while Uber... you get the idea.

    No, it's too much work to raise the quality of service. It's so much easier to try and destroy the competition.

    1. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Careful there...

      Other ride-sharing facilitation marketplace companies are available...

    2. Mark 65

      Re: Careful there...

      The reason Uber can charge you €5 rather than €20 for the journey is because the ride is subsidised by all the VC money flowing into the company. They don't make a profit and lost over $3bn in 2016. When the line of VC numpties runs out, so will Uber. Make the most of it whilst it lasts.

      For anyone that is interested the following site has run an 8 part story looking into the world of Uber...

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/02/can-uber-ever-deliver-part-eight-brad-stones-uber-book-upstarts-prpropaganda-masquerading-journalism.html

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Fazal Majid

          Re: Careful there...

          How is Uber a monopoly? Every single ride-"sharing" driver I have ever seen is also on Lyft. There are no barriers to entry whatsoever, and as #DeleteUber shows, their user base is much less sticky than they believe.

          1. Adam 52 Silver badge

            Re: Careful there...

            "How is Uber a monopoly? Every single ride-"sharing" driver I have ever seen is also on Lyft."

            Once Uber becomes the default choice for *ordering* a taxi then a simple terms and conditions change for the app will make it the only viable choice for drivers.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Careful there...

              "Once Uber becomes the default choice for *ordering* a taxi then a simple terms and conditions change for the app will make it the only viable choice for drivers."

              Nope. Not possible, at least here in the UK. If you take on "self employed" contractors and aren't allowed or can't work for anyone else based on Ts&Cs, then you are their employer for tax and working conditions purposes. That's already been confirmed by the courts. Even Govt. departments were caught out by that and had their knuckles wrapped by HMRC and they didn't even forbid the contractors from taking on other work. Those who did a decent percentage of other work were ok, but those who contracted exclusively or at least in the vast majority, were "employees" in the eyes of HMRC and employment law.

            2. ckm5

              Re: Careful there...

              Except that no one in Silly Valley uses Uber anymore, largely because of shit like this. People use other services or car sharing.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Careful there...

          Yes, Uber is spending money like a drunken sailor, but if its goal is achieved, it will posses immense power.

          And that, in a nutshell, IS the Silicon Vally approach to business. Flush the competition away with copious amounts of cash, than recover it (and plenty more) by ruthlessly maintaining a monopoly position by suing or buying up competition and sponsoring the laws they want.

          That's not actually new. In my opinion, Bill Gates pretty much wrote the book on this in the '90s with Microsoft, it made even IBM look like a rank amateur.

      2. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Careful there...

        The reason Uber can charge you €5 rather than €20 for the journey is because the ride is subsidised by all the VC money flowing into the company.

        Exploiting their drivers with illegal (at least that's what it's looking like in the UK) working practices, and taking short cuts when it comes to complying with local laws and regulations is also something to do with it.

        If Uber lose their appeal against the verdict of their last court appearance in the UK, the whole edifice will crumble. And it will make force much needed changes on to the gig economy. In short, either Uber will have to let the drivers set the price, or take the drivers on as staff and pay them a wage. Prices will have to rise, and then they'd be no better than ordinary minicabs.

      3. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Careful there...

        Drivers in China figured this out - they got more money from Uber than their customers paid. So they invited their whole family to drive them around, re-paying them what they were charged and keeping the difference, and then of course figured out that they didn't actually have to do the driving.

        Your grandma calls you for a round trip costing say $100. Uber pays you $110. You pay the $100 for your grandma and keep $10 without ever starting the car engine. Free money from Uber VCs. Note that this appears as $100 revenue in their books.

        1. Just Enough

          Re: Careful there...

          "Drivers in China figured this out - "

          Don't Uber expect to see the driver's GPS travelling the claimed journey?

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Careful there...

            It is possible to give the app fake GPS data. This allows developers to test their apps without having to leave the lab.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Careful there...

      Über pay their drivers in London £5 per hour rather than the minimum wage of £7.20 (£7.50 from 1st April), they don't pay Employer NI (13.8% or £1 per hour) or VAT (20%). Driver expenses work out at about £2.40 per hour, Über charge around 30% commission, so about £10.50 per hour in total, and VAT on that should be about £1.75.

      This is about £5.25 per hour they are avoiding by breaking tax and minimum wage laws, which is more than the margin they are currently making, and that is why they are so cheap.

  5. Fazal Majid

    She really should sue

    Unfortunately the Ellen Pao fiasco probably has created a chilling effect on sexual harassment cases, but given she seems to have a well-documented evidence trail (as befits a SRE), it would seem like a slam-dunk. Just because a company is well-known to be toxic with a huge sense of impunity doesn't mean they are actually above the law.

  6. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Toxic work environments FTMFL

    Was in one, skedaddled very quickly out of it, don't need that kind of negativity.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    2017 and male managers still consider this "appropriate" behavior with women staff?

    In fact he seemed to view it as completely normal.

    In an operation with 20% women.

    Icon says it all really.

    1. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      Re: 2017 and male managers still consider this "appropriate" behavior with women staff?

      I entirely agree. On a more general point one would have thought that any modern company would make it clear to its managers that good personal behaviour towards their subordinates is regarded as a key part of their abilities as a manager. That personally objectionable behaviour (regardless of its specific nature) towards members of staff who are junior to them will be regarded as a potential sacking offence regardless of how good they may or may not be at other aspects of their work. It is sadly a fact that the concept "human resources" is something that is honoured in the breach rather than the observance in all too many companies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 2017 and male managers still consider this "appropriate" behavior with women staff?

        If someone is crap at management, but good at other stuff, then you delete their management role. No need to sack them.

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Management types away from the coal face

    You know you have a very high probably of meeting a nincompoop loser sociopath in expensive clothing (they also have some kind of smooth speech pattern and a studied relaxed demeanor, very bizarre). Everyone is weirdly friendly with him/her/it and C-level management thinks he/she/it "does a good job" and is "a most indispensible piece of the network". Meanwhile, good people touching his/her/its sphere of influence leave, if they have any sense.

    Put a bullet to his/her/its head the only change in the company function is that there is menu too many in the cantina.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Management types away from the coal face

      Put a bullet to his/her/its head the only change in the company function is that there is menu too many in the cantina.

      This is mostly a non-US publication, so although I admire the simplicity of the solution we tend not to do this or even advocate it. Sometimes it's simply because they may have innocent dependents or because it would make too much a mess on the carpet, but mainly it is because having the means to shoot someone is illegal, as is the shooting itself.

      Even if you're a cop.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Management types away from the coal face

        "but mainly it is because having the means to shoot someone is illegal,"

        Exactly. The proper British way involves lift shafts, rolled up carpets and quicklime. And possible a supercharged cattle prod.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Management types away from the coal face

          Before speaking to management, always ask yourself "What would Simon do?".

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Management types away from the coal face

          Exactly. The proper British way involves lift shafts, rolled up carpets and quicklime. And possible a supercharged cattle prod.

          Or the modern equivalent - sending them to the Chicago office for a 6-month stay :-)

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "and a studied relaxed demeanor, very bizarre"

      Not at all.

      He (or she) has successfully conned their manager into believing their BS and neutralized or enrolled HR into their world view. They have a license to treat their staff like s**t and know they can keep on getting away with it as long as they can persuade or coerce any key subordinates into continuing to do their job for them.

      You see the chaos and financial ruin they bring and think "How can we fix this"

      They think "Who can I blame for this and how can I get a pay rise out of it?"

      Psychopaths don't get why "It's bad" and they don't care about your feelings, unless of course they are manipulating them to do what they want you to do.

      And as it's a severe personality disorder, not a disease, it's viewed as incurable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "and a studied relaxed demeanor, very bizarre"

        And as it's a severe personality disorder, not a disease, it's viewed as incurable.

        .. and as of this year, evidently a pre-requisite for the Presidency :(.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder

    "there was the organisational chaos"

    Some years ago there was study, that women hate chaos and given the chance will prefer strict top-down environment with clear responsibilities over chaotic ones with high degree of autonomy, unlike men.

    Interesting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder

      Some years ago I made up a study that said people posting anonymously without sources are wasting everyone's time with their bullshit.

      Not really interesting other than as an indicator of how poor some people's critical thinking is.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll wait

    I'll wait till the lawsuits and tribunals have completed. Until then, popcorn and forum watching.

  11. Mystic Megabyte
    FAIL

    Bad Uber

    I've not yet used an Uber non-taxi and as the management seem be be a bunch of complete knobheads I don't think I'll bother.

    Also, how can you be sure that an Uber driver is insured to carry passengers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bad Uber

      Also, how can you be sure that an Uber driver is insured to carry passengers?

      Ah, but that is exactly the sort of evil and monopolistic regulation that Uber is fighting tooth and nail, doubly evil if local government further insists on some degree of screening drivers before licensing so you're not driven to a dark place by a psychopath who knows how to switch off a tracking phone.

      Yes, I'd avoid it too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bad Uber

        Indeed, it took long enough to catch John Worboys and that was a black cab.

        1. Robert Sneddon

          Part-timers

          There was a case about a year ago of an American Uber driver working the late shift who was shooting people in drive-bys between picking up passengers.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Part-timers

            > American Uber driver working the late shift who was shooting people in drive-bys between picking up passengers.

            Between the drop-off and the pick-up or vice-versa?

        2. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: Bad Uber

          "Indeed, it took long enough to catch John Worboys and that was a black cab."

          A police background check is no cast-iron guarantee that all the rotten apples will be removed. It's still better than a system that DOESN'T have a police background check. Just google for the number of illegal taxi drivers convicted of rape, violent crimes, drunk driving, without insurance etc.

          At the very least Uber drivers should be required under law to undergo the exact same checks on themselves and the suitability of their vehicle to carry passengers as a cab driver would.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Bad Uber

      Also, how can you be sure that an Uber driver is insured to carry passengers?

      By the taxi licencing authority plate affixed to the rear of the vehicle, eg picture. If it isn't plated it isn't licensed and isn't insured, and is breaking the law.

      1. julianh72

        Re: Bad Uber

        "Also, how can you be sure that an Uber driver is insured to carry passengers?

        By the taxi licencing authority plate affixed to the rear of the vehicle, eg picture. If it isn't plated it isn't licensed and isn't insured, and is breaking the law."

        What Uber does and does not require of its drivers varies according to what the local regulators insist upon. The evidence suggests their business model is to enter a new market with no requirements whatsoever ("We're not a taxi service, so taxi laws don't apply"), and then tough it out until the lawmakers buckle.

        Perhaps in some jurisdictions, they carry and display some sort of "commercial vehicle" plate, but in my part of the world (Queensland, Australia), Ubers have been deemed to be legal, but don't carry any physical evidence of being licensed or insured for commercial use. I won't catch an Uber for this reason - I don't want to find out the hard way that my driver isn't insured for commercial use (I know that's what my car insurance policy says), and so they aren't covered for any injuries I might suffer in an accident.

      2. Lotaresco Silver badge

        Re: Bad Uber

        "By the taxi licencing authority plate affixed to the rear of the vehicle"

        The Uber model is private hire, booked in advance. Not all LAs require a plate on vehicles to be used for private hire.

        For example in London the vehicle needs to show a PCO licence in the front and rear windows.

    3. ckm5

      Re: Bad Uber

      https://www.uber.com/drive/insurance/

  12. Mage Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Misleading and toxic

    They are not a spare time ride sharing operation. They are an exploitive and misleading taxi booking app with exploited employee drivers. So no surprise how toxic this misleading company is internally.

    They are also gathering all customer use (identify, time, route etc) and driver information, which might be illegal. They are part owned by Google.

    What is all the personal information used for?

    It's not even properly secured.

    Women are obviously smarter than men, as they are not prepared to support such a toxic company, 25% -> 6%.

  13. HurdImpropriety

    Come on.. a self-righteous Google child/spinoff... acting ridiculously sexist??

    Come on.. a self-righteous Google child/spinoff... acting ridiculously sexist??

    OF COURSE! The self-righteous Left arm search engine of the Democratic party ... acting HYPOCRITICAL??? OF COURSE !!! One of the those "social responsible" companies that is always first in the face of Trump??? OF COURSE !!!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No training.

    Companies rarely train and occasionally when they do they farm it out to the lowest cost bidder and we can see the results in this story.

    Which is very similar to several I worked at. I was lucky and started in a company that trained employees for the job they were going into, and ongoing training for the position they were in. Not a coincidence that women were an increasing percentage of workers every year during those times.

    Since then I've worked for larger companies and seen an abhorrence towards written policies and practices and open disdain for any training in most companies. In one case management training, which was completed in one day and consisted of a basic review of company policy and how to fire employees. The level of detail regarding policy was that which should be included with every new hire Indoc training. No management training at all. For the manager running the $35M a year project it was the only such training he had ever seen. That was the same place that turned the Womens restroom into an "Executive" restroom just in case any women accidentally got interviewed. They lost that $35M a yr for 25yrs contract the year after I left, can't say I and others hadn't called it.

    The problem is those who do not get training think it isn't needed, same with those who have never worked in an office were productivity is objectively measured. I was on a couple teams doing just that and the resistance was the highest among those who it turned out were the least productive yet highest paid (shocking I know).

    Training and ongoing training to ensure everyone is on the same page is a requirement for a productive, respectful workplace, but that takes money, effort, and planning. Of course the psychopaths, creeps, corrupt and the lazy prefer organisational chaos. They prefer "freedom" without the restrictions of enforced policies or procedures because in those workplaces they do well even while the company collapses.

    For them a company does not have to be profitable to be profitable to them.

    1. Arctic fox

      @ Haefen "For them a company does not have to be profitable to be profitable to them."

      A very good point Haefen. When companies finally realise that these "psycho-managers" actually damage them we may (possibly) see some changes. If of course, the senior managers of the company are not of the same ilk.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    HR

    Her first mistake was going to HR.

    HR is usually the largest department in any medium+ sized company, and is populated almost entirely by bored, slightly stupid and generally spiteful women who just want a 9-5 easy life with no boat-rocking whatsoever. If you take any problem to HR they will side with (in this very crucial order):

    1. Whoever is most senior.

    2. Whoever is most like them.

    HR, despite being usually 95% women, generally don't side with women - it's the HR function who is largely responsible for the glass ceiling after all.

    HR is not there to represent the workforce - the clue is in their title - Human Resources. HR is there to self-perpetuate its own existence and to act as a buffer between workers and senior managers. That's all.

    She did the best thing: she left.

    Sometimes if you tread in dog crap, you just have to wipe it off your shoe and walk on.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. DrXym Silver badge

    I'm certainly surprised

    Uber have such a stellar record on employee rights. I just don't understand how this is possible.

  17. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  18. veti Silver badge

    Not a steady state

    One point that everyone seems to be missing here is, this was a changing situation.

    When this woman joined, they had 25% women. When she left, it was down to 6%. That implies that the culture shortly before she arrived can't have been that bad, or else that reduction would already have happened.

    So something changed at Uber, probably shortly before she joined. What was that? Any guesses?

    1. Justicesays
      Holmes

      Re: Not a steady state

      The obvious thing would be that they hired a bunch of people, including Susan, with their VC cash infusions. And a good proportion of those were women....and they probably hired/promoted all of the founders "bro" mates as the managers around the same time.

  19. Noonoot

    She had to make a choice?!

    WTF, if you read the original blog post what is even more disgusting is this:

    I was then told that I had to make a choice: (i) I could either go and find another team and then never have to interact with this man again, or (ii) I could stay on the team, but I would have to understand that he would most likely give me a poor performance review when review time came around, and there was nothing they could do about that. [snip] .....One HR rep even explicitly told me that it wouldn't be retaliation if I received a negative review later because I had been "given an option".

    What kind of dickheads are working for this company? Doh! Big ones obviously. The whole company and its politics are agressive. One reason why I will NEVER use their services.

  20. Lotaresco Silver badge

    I'm not in the slightest surprised.

    I work in computer security. I got into this line of work after discovering several hundred MB[1] of filth on a manager's PC. Since then and after working in digital forensics for a few years I've ceased to be surprised by the sleaziness of the managerial classes. I'm also no longer surprised that they treat their workers and their sexual partners[2] like meatbags[3]. I'm guessing that to get to the top in a large corporation takes a certain type of sociopath or even psychopath and I'm not alone in thinking this.

    The same arrogant tosspot that can stare you in the face and tell you to sign off paperwork that is a lie, often turns out to be intimidating staff into sexual encounters and then using their power in the workplace to silence everyone in sight. I'm lucky in being born with a spine and being physically large enough and mean enough to stare down these idiots. I'm also lucky in having marketable skills so that their threats to sack me just make me laugh.

    During investigation of some particularly bad cases I found that the people trying to cover up were the victims of the abuse. The abuser had them intimidated to the point that they were terrified to do anything other than cover up for the abuser. I had the suspicion that the abusers often start with HR. Lots of women in HR and threats to expose them to their partners can be a powerful force for manipulation.

    I'm glad these days to be in a "cleaner" type of security and not having to get involved in person-to-person nastiness. However I doubt that the basic MO of these types has changed at all in the past decade.

    [1] That was a lot in those days, half the hard drive on his laptop.

    [2] Not really "partners" in any sense, just someone being used.

    [3] Yes, I've seen the evidence for this when prepping material for investigation. These people are so arrogant that they will video themselves abusing someone then put it on a corporate communication system.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unless this goes to court we have no idea how much of this is true or perceived. If it's as bad as she says it is, she has more than enough reason to take it to an employment tribunal or to court. She should do so, otherwise only minimal changes are likely to happen at Uber.

    It could be a mix of bad Uber HR and a highly career motivated feminist who gets upset when she doesn't get the promotion she wants. We just don't know and only have a blog entry which are always going to be biased to the opinion of the writer..

    Get your mangina's out and bring on the downvotes! How dare people bring up other possibilities while sheeple's are spitting venom at a nasty company ;)

    Also why does every social group think there should be a 50/50 split of whatever type of people in company or type of job? Will no one be happy until it's 50% men, 50% women, with 25 % of each group being white and the other 25% being black or some other nationality, as well as 25% of that 50% being disabled and whatever else you want to throw in to the mix. Her blog whining about 6% women is the usual Fem-type argument.

  22. Indolent Wretch

    "I've instructed our CHRO Liane to conduct an urgent investigation. There can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber."

    "You know Liane? That cute little piece in HR with the rack? Everyone on the board wants to smash her back doors in I can tell you."

    Aww damn did I hit post on that too? Somebody go and sack somebody! But make sure you don't sack any Bros.

  23. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Icon

    Is that an image of Thomas Jefferson that Mr. Kalanick uses? Now there's a guy who wouldn't tolerate misbehavior with the help, right?

  24. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Big Brother

    The purpose of HR

    The purpose of HR is to cover the company's ass and keep it from getting sued.

    Nothing more.

    They are most definitely NOT on your side, nor will they ever be. Do not trust them. Nothing you tell them will be held in confidence. It will be shared with your manager and their manager, almost immediately.

    In a contest between your interest and the company's, they will ALWAYS take the company view.

    So, the lies about "first offense" in Susan's essay are expected behavior. As are the questions about who she talked to, how often and how.

    // lifetime of experience talking

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