New York City is reining in the growth of Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride services with a temporary cap on new cars picking up fares. The city says it needs to study the rapidly changing industry. (Aug 9)
Uber may have a new CEO and potential plans for a 2019 public stock offering, but it remains in the shadows of cultural scandals that wracked the ride-hailing company in 2017.
The San Francisco-based company announced Wednesday that it will pay $1.9 million, or about $34,000 per person, to 56 former and current employees who say they were harassed or discriminated against while working at the ride-hailing company.
That settlement is part of a $10 million overall settlement announced in March as part of a class action discrimination suit against Uber. That suit, filed in October 2017, involves claims from 487 female and minority engineers going back to 2013.
Long a high-flying tech start-up fueled by the bravado of its onetime co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, Uber hit rough waters in February 2017 with a blog post by former engineer Susan Fowler. Her bombshell account detailed a toxic, sexist work environment where discrimination complaints were often brushed aside.
Fowler’s piece quickly led to internal investigations that ultimately forced the resignation of Kalanick and, more recently, the firing of human resources boss Liane Hornsey after an investigation into her conduct including reportedly her handling of employee complaints about racism.
The original discrimination suit against Uber was filed by three Latina software engineers, Ingrid Avendano, Roxana del Toro Lopez and Ana Medina, who alleged that female engineers and engineers of color were paid less, hired for lower-level jobs, promoted more slowly, and subject to bias in their performance evaluations.
Details about the 56 current and former employees who also alleged harassment, a hostile work environment and emotional distress were in a court filing made Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
The members of the suit will get, on average $33,928.57 for those claims of harassment. Awards will range from zero to $100,000, depending on their individual harassment experience.
They will also get, on average, an additional award of about $11,000, along with the other 428 plaintiffs as part of the remainder of the $10 million overall settlement for cases of discrimination. Those awards range from $23.09 to $38,929.62, with the award figure based on factors such as their job title and how long they worked at Uber.
Two of the 487 class action suit members opted out of the Settlement, the filing says.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is expected to rule on final approval of the settlement Nov. 6.
“If we continue on this path and the Court grants final approval, class members should receive checks just before Christmas, and we’ll begin the three-year job of monitoring Uber’s progress in improving its policies and practices to be fair to all software engineers said the plaintiff’s lawyer Jahan Sagafi of Outten & Golden, which filed the suit.
Uber said in a statement that it agrees “with the plaintiff’s motion which states that ‘the class has responded extremely favorably to the settlement’ with amounts that are ‘fair, reasonable, and adequate.'”
Since hiring its new CEO, former Expedia boss Dara Khosrowshahi, a year ago, Uber has implemented a new employee salary and equity structure, overhauled its performance review process, and addressed diversity concerns with its first diversity and inclusion report and an extensive diversity and leadership training process.
Khosrowshahi also has appeared in prime-time commercials in which he tells viewers that the company is now dedicated to doing “the right thing.”
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.
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