Uber pays $4.4M to end U.S. sex-harass investigation

Uber has agreed to pay $4.4 million to settle a government investigation about sexual harassment at the company.

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission announced the deal Wednesday. The EEOC started investigating Uber in 2017, the commission said in a press release.

That year, the company was rocked by scandals, including allegations that it permitted a culture of rampant harassment and retaliated against people who complained.

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In February, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote about being propositioned by her manager and then being stonewalled by human resources, prompting an outside investigation of the company. That investigation found that Uber’s work culture was in need of reforming and ultimately contributed to founder Travis Kalanick’s ouster as CEO.

Dara Khosrowshahi, his successor, has pledged to turn the company around and oversaw its initial public offering earlier this year.

The EEOC did not say how many women could potentially be eligible to receive part of the settlement money. The $4.4 million will go into a fund “to compensate anyone who the EEOC determines experienced sexual harassment and/or related retaliation after January 1, 2014,” the commission said.

As part of the settlement, Uber will submit to outside monitoring for three years, update its policies and continue conducting exit interviews with workers with a focus on harassment, the EEOC said.

Janet Dhillon, the commission’s chair, said the settlement “demonstrates the benefits of working cooperatively with EEOC and serves as a model for businesses committed to truly leveling the playing field,” according to a press release.

EEOC San Francisco District Director William Tamayo called out the tech industry in a statement, saying the industry “has often ignored allegations of sexual harassment when an accused harasser is seen as more valuable to the company than the accuser.”

Uber last year settled a lawsuit alleging it discriminated against women and minorities for $10 million.

The ride-hailing and food-delivery company generated $42 million in revenue per day during the quarter that just ended. It has yet to turn a profit.

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