Uber continues to struggle with allegations of racism and sexism as the ride-hailing company loses its chief people officer.
Liane Hornsey resigned Tuesday, July 10, following an investigation by Gibson Dunn, an independent law firm, attempting to uncover the ways she handled the litany of sexual misconduct and racism allegations burdening the company.
According to Reuters, anonymous whistleblowers sent allegations to the news outlet. They allege Hornsey dismissed claims of racial discrimination at Uber. The group of employees said they tried to voice their complaints through a tip line hosted by the company, but their grievances were also disregarded — especially if they were race-related.
Hornsey was brought in about 18 months ago to head Uber's human resources department. She told Reuters her resignation came "out of the blue for some," but she'd been thinking about it for a while.
High-ranking black executives at Uber such as Bernard Coleman, global head of diversity and inclusion, and Bozoma Saint John, the former chief brand officer, were allegedly victims of Hornsey's abuse.
Whistleblowers accused her of making threats and using derogatory language toward them.
“This person ultimately was the reason behind (Saint John’s) departure from Uber,” the anonymous employees said in an email, regarding Hornsey.
Both Coleman and Saint John joined the company in 2017. Saint John left Uber in June. A New York Times report also highlights the ongoing issues with other Uber executives that have only added to the company's problems.
Barney Harford, chief operating officer, was brought in to solve issues, but like many of the new executives, he fell short. In one instance, he confused black actresses in an ad because they had similar hairstyles. Others have voiced their issues with his microaggressions and racial blind spots. Uber hopes to retrain him and improve his relationship with employees.
“I am humbled and grateful for the feedback I received, which has been eye-opening,” Mr. Harford said in a statement. “Honest feedback given in good faith is something we need more of, and I’m totally committed to acting on it and improving.”
Uber claims it has taken the proper procedures to look into the complaints raised by the email.
“We are confident that the investigation was conducted in an unbiased, thorough and credible manner, and that the conclusions of the investigation were addressed appropriately,” Uber told Reuters in a statement.
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