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Uber executive Amit Singhal resigns over sexual harassment allegations

Employees who were 'top performers', allowed to get away with unacceptable behaviour, current and former staff claim

Ben Chapman
Tuesday 28 February 2017 12:49
Amit Singhal, joined Uber just one month ago in a high-profile move, after fifteen years as head of search at Google
Amit Singhal, joined Uber just one month ago in a high-profile move, after fifteen years as head of search at Google

The cloud of sexual harassment allegations engulfing Uber worsened after its newly-hired engineering chief was forced to resign a week after it emerged he had failed to disclose a harassment claim from his previous job at Google.

The executive, Amit Singhal, joined Uber just one month ago in a high-profile move, after fifteen years as head of search at Google. On Monday Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive asked Mr Singhal to resign.

The swift dismissal comes as Uber faces accusations that its culture had allowed workplace sexual harassment to go unpunished.

Last week Uber launched what it described as an “urgent investigation” into workplace practices after a former employee published a damning blog detailing sexual harassment and discrimination she allegedly suffered while working for the company.

Susan Fowler, who left her job as an engineer at Uber in December, wrote in a personal blog post published on Sunday that she had suffered “sexual harassment”, witnessed “political games” and received “threats” from her manager after reporting incidents to the company’s human resources department.

Other current and former employees have claimed that the company’s human resources officials repeatedly ignored harassment claims about employees who were “top performers.”

In response to Ms Fowler’s blog, Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick said that what is described in the blog is “abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in”.

Uber asked Eric H. Holder, a former attorney general under President Obama, to investigate the claims. Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post and an Uber board member, is also assisting with the investigation.

According to the New York Times, Google deemed the 2015 claim of sexual harassment against Mr Singhal to be “credible” after an in an internal investigation.

Mr Singhal resigned in February 2016 stating that he wanted to devote more time, to philanthropy the Times reported.

“Harassment is unacceptable in any setting,” Mr. Singhal said in a statement on Monday. “I certainly want everyone to know that I do not condone and have not committed such behavior. In my 20-year career, I’ve never been accused of anything like this before, and the decision to leave Google was my own.”

Uber and Google declined to comment on Mr. Singhal.

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