Uber has had its fair share of the spotlight since the company began operations in the U.S. in 2011. News regarding the business range from their revolutionary stance on transportation, to the not-so-revolutionary inner-workings of their business, to the hiring of drunk drivers, and even those without a valid license. This month, Uber makes headlines again over sexual harassment, undermining a protest, and evading government officials.
Many female employees have recently come forward claiming that Uber has a culture of chauvinism and sexual harassment. In response to these claims, CEO Travis Kalanick condemned the alleged behavior and ordered an internal investigation into the claims. The investigation was spearheaded by former U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder and is currently underway.
Uber is also facing social media whiplash after a wrong move they made at New York’s JFK airport. On Jan 28 2018, taxi drivers at JFK launched a work stoppage by way of protesting President Trump’s recent immigration orders. While this was underway, Uber continued working and even stopped their surge pricing—which is usually in place during times of peak traffic like this one.
The move was seen as undermining the strike, supporting Trump’s immigration orders, and of profiting from the situation. In response, a #Deleteuber campaign began on social media, gaining a lot of attention, and fast.
Uber responded to this with on Twitter saying,“We’re sorry for any confusion about our earlier tweet — it was not meant to break up any strike.” Uber stated that they simply decided not to charge extra despite demand being high at that time since the traffic was caused by the strike, and was not organic.
A month after the incident, Uber CEO Kalanick stepped down from Trump’s economic advisory council stating that “joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the President or his agenda…”
Finally, Uber has recently been accused of using a technological tool, entitled Greyball, to evade government officials who were carrying out sting operations to uncover Uber drivers who were not obeying regulations. When this was uncovered by the media, Uber stated that they would stop using the technology as a means of targeting authorities.
Since the incidents, Uber director, Arianna Huffington has promised to make great changes to the corporate culture of Uber and to appoint a new chief operations officer to support Kalanick.
This month Uber released a diversity report showing that women make up 36% of their employees which is similar to most other tech companies. The report also outlined where diversity was missing — upper management — but made no comment on this.
Despite all of this, the company is still growing at an exponential rate within the U.S. and has an almost $70 billion evaluation.