Post Authored by Yara Mroueh
Uber and its employees reached a deal in the above-mentioned matter through conciliation, which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) must complete before going to court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). The agreement ended an investigation opened by the EEOC in 2017 regarding a series of claims about Uber’s workplace culture. Among these claims were sexual harassment in violation of Title VII. It started when Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer, wrote a post on her blog about her new manager propositioning her for sex the day she joined his team. When she reported the situation to human resources, they told her “they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking to.” The EEOC’s investigation found there was reasonable cause to believe Uber allowed a culture of sexual harassment and retaliated against employees who complained about such harassment.
Uber agreed to pay $4.4 million to current and former employees who were victims of alleged gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. The settlement will establish a class fund for anyone the EEOC determines experienced sexual harassment and/or retaliation while employed by Uber between January 1, 2014, and June 30, 2019. It will also appoint a claims administrator, who will contact all female employees who worked at the ride-hailing company during that time, giving them an opportunity to submit a claim through a questionnaire.
As part of the settlement, Uber has also agreed to create a system identifying employees who have been accused of harassment. Managers who failed to respond to concerns and concerns in a timely and appropriate manner will also be included. Further, Fred Alvarez, the former EEOC Commissioner, will monitor the company for three years and ensure that Uber properly followed the new policies.
This is not the first settlement resulting from workplace discrimination and harassment that Uber has faced. In 2018, Uber reached a $10 million settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit filed by women and people of color who worked at the company as engineers. The Plaintiffs, both current and former employees, alleged they were subjected to harassment and discrimination at Uber.
According to the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, younger workforces like Uber are at increased risk of harassment. As a result, these companies must carefully implement measures that enable and empower young, inexperienced employees to speak up about unwelcome conduct.
About the Author:
Yara Mroueh is an associate attorney at Gordon & Rees, where she focuses her practice primarily in the areas of products and premises liability, insurance defense, toxic tort, and commercial litigation. Yara is active in all phases of litigation, from investigating the facts, settlement negotiations, and pre-trial preparation. As part of her practice, Yara enjoys taking depositions and drafting complex motions in state and federal matters. Yara’s bilingual skills provide her a unique opportunity to connect with clients and achieve the best possible outcome.