Since the beginning of 2017, Uber has been facing backlash after backlash from its users, employees and the media.
First, there was the public’s revolt in the U.S. during the anti-travel ban protests, where the ridesharing app continued to provide its services while most taxi services supported the protesters by going on strike. Then, there were the controversies over the cash ride system in Brazil, which led a dramatic increase in the number of robberies, murders and attacks against Uber drivers. Surges in pricing and low employee protection also triggered angry uprisings from the public.
The latest scandal in line was the testimony of the company’s ex-employee Susan J. Fowler which revealed a disturbing side of the firm’s corporate culture. In her blog post, she described several instances of sexual harassment by company executives along with the horrifyingly dismissive and misogynist attitude of the HR team towards the female victims.
Fowler also faced sexual discrimination where she was kept from ascending in the firm’s ranks despite her spotless and remarkable performance, mainly because of her gender and her previous quarrels with abusive executives.
The engineer’s genuine testimony catalyzed the return of the hashtag #DeleteUber in Twitter’s trends along with a new wave of unsubscriptions. The firm has responded by initiating an investigation into the team’s malpractice as denounced by Fowler.
Although the popularity of the firm has taken several hits, the app still remains widely used worldwide and many are skeptical about the long term damage these short burst of anger will have on the unicorn. Although people tend to forget and return to using the most convenient services regardless of corporate malpractice, we still hope these protests will push the firm to own up to its ethical downfalls and provide adequate solutions.