Update, June 16, 2017: A Texas resident who was raped by her Uber driver in India is suing the company and three of its executives. The New York Times reported the news, adding that the lawsuit followed the mishandling of the woman's medical records by the company. It isn't clear how Uber had access to those records to begin with. The convicted driver is currently serving a life sentence in India.
Update, June 13, 2017: The New York Times has confirmed that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will be taking a leave of absence from the company. Tech reporter Mike Isaac tweeted the news went out to staffers in an email. Uber is expected to release the findings from an investigation into workplace culture today.
This piece was originally published on June 11, 2017.
The execs at Uber know their company image has a one-star rating these days. CEO Travis Kalanick may pay for his company's missteps in the form of a forced leave of absence, the New York Times reports. Uber's board of directors could vote for this change in a meeting today.
In case you haven't kept up with all the reasons people have decided to #DeleteUber since January, here's a rundown:
In January, Kalanick agreed to join President Trump's economic advisory council. Then he sent an ill-advised tweet about surge pricing when cab drivers at New York's JFK airport were striking to protest Trump's travel ban, inspiring the #DeleteUber hashtag. Kalanick later criticized the ban and stepped down from the council.
In February, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a post on Recode about how the company ignored her complaints of sexual harassment. That month the company hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an investigation of sexism within the company. Another law firm conducted a separate investigation that resulted in the firing of 20 people last week.
In March, The Information reported that Kalanick and a group of execs visited an escort bar while doing business in South Korea, leading to an HR complaint.
Just this week, Recode reported that Eric Alexander, president of business in the Asia Pacific region, had obtained the medical records of a woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India in 2014 and shown them to Kalanick and others in the company. Only after this made headlines was Alexander fired.
Not helping matters is a leaked email Kalanick sent in 2013 that seemed to make light of possible sexual harassment issues before a big company party in Miami.
None of this was a good look for a company criticized from the start for not screening its drivers well enough to protect passengers from sexual assault. Last year, a judge ruled that victims of sexual assault by an Uber driver could sue the company.
If it seems surprising that Kalanick hasn't faced repercussions sooner, that's because he has close allies on the board, the New York Times explains, which gives more voting weight to founders of the company, including Kalanick. There's also the unfortunate complication that Kalanick's mother just died and his father was injured in a boating accident in May.
The board is meeting on Sunday to discuss Holder's report on the company's culture and his recommendations.
“It’s ugly,” a source told Recode of the report. “A story of a workplace gone wrong in a lot of key ways.”