It hasn't even been a month since the cab-hailing service giant Uber received flak from the online community for breaking a taxi strike during Trump's anti-immigration ban protests. The same #DeleteUber hashtags are back again on social media, but this time for a different reason.
#DeleteUber began trending on social media late Sunday after a former Uber engineer claimed of having been harassed sexually in the workplace in her blogpost. The post soon garnered traction as many called for boycotting the app-based agrregator's services.
The CEO of Uber Technologies Inc Travis Kalanick has ordered an "urgent investigation" into the claims of the sexual harassment. Kalanick said that he has ordered his chief human resources officer to investigate the accusations made by the former employee, Susan Fowler.
Kalanick called Fowler's allegations "abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in," in a statement sent to Reuters.
Fowler, in her nearly 3,000-word blogpost titled 'Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber' wrote about instances of sexism directed at her ever since she joined the company in November 2015.
"On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat," wrote Fowler, who left the company last year in December and joined Stripe soon after. "He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn't. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn't help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with."
Fowler added that the manager's intentions were clear that he was trying to get her involved and that she felt "it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR."
"When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man's first offence, and that they wouldn't feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to," she wrote on her blog.
"Upper management told me that he was a high performer and they wouldn't feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part," her blogpost further added.
The allegations made in her post prompted an immediate backlash on Uber by social media. Soon after the #DeleteUber hashtag started trending on Twitter, Arianna Huffington, who joined Uber's board last year, said in a tweet that she would work with the company's new chief human resources officer, Liane Hornsey, to conduct the investigation.
"We seek to make Uber a just workplace and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behaviour at Uber - and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired," Kalanick said on Sunday.