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When a company does not rein in employee harassment

Uber has brought affordable rides to over 70 nations, including the United States. However, like many other companies in Nevada and elsewhere, it has experienced its share of personnel problems. Some of them include allegations of sexual discrimination and harassment.

According to The New York Times, certain groups of employees received protection from the company to avoid their own accountability for certain behaviors, including sexual harassment and discrimination. Alleged misconduct after the fact included a manager groping female coworkers. Another involved a director shouting at a subordinate with a homophobic insult.

Culture of acceptance of harassing behavior

A recent expose by one female employee revealed a history of managerial discrimination and sexual harassment. When the behaviors became known to the company’s human resources department, they received a decided lack of interest by the department. In fact, the allegation indicated that the culture at the company was that the wrongful behaviors received condonation or encouragement by the company in some ways.

Where to find evidence of sexual harassment

What has helped to bring the employment rights plight within this company into public scrutiny and possible legal jeopardy included the following:

  • Internal emails analyzed
  • Over 30 interviews with former employees
  • Chat logs reviewed
  • Audio tapes of meetings

What prevents reporting of the bad behavior

Interestingly, confidentiality agreements may have restrained employees from coming forward to report the abuse. Fear of retaliation was also a factor. However, lack of complaining by employees who are the subjects of acts of sexual harassment or discrimination does not negate the fact that it has occurred. As noted, the lack of reporting by aggrieved employees often has more to do with a concern over losing one’s job in a niche industry.

It will also likely not be a valid defense that an actor in violation of sexual harassment and discrimination laws may not have had ill-will as a motive or an overly greedy quest to climb over people to advance up the ladder. What is a factor is that the recipient, even if a bystander, felt uncomfortable or harassed by the behavior.

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