The team investigating Uber’s toxic workplace and culture must have found a lot of evidence, because they just asked the company’s board of directors for an additional month to sift through everything before submitting their findings.
In February, Uber announced that former US Attorney General Eric Holder and his colleague Tammy Albarrán would conduct a review of the ride-hail company’s corporate culture, following allegations of rampant sexism and harassment. Holder and Albarrán have been reporting on a weekly basis to a subcommittee of Uber’s board of directors, consisting of Arianna Huffington, Bill Gurley, and David Bonderman.
“When Eric Holder and Tammy Albarrán began their review, we told them that they would have all the support and time necessary to conduct an intensive, thorough review of Uber’s workplace and culture,” the board members said in a statement. “Eric and Tammy have asked us for more time to complete their assessment, which includes information received from hundreds of employees through interviews and anonymous online focus groups and reflects the global scale of the company’s operations. To ensure that no stone is left unturned, we have granted that request and anticipate a report by the end of May.” The statement mirrors an internal email that Recode reported last night.
At the time, the news drew criticism because of Holder’s ties to the company. Uber retains his law firm, Covington & Burling, for advice on safety issues. Holder even advocated for Uber last summer by sending letters to officials to drop policies mandating fingerprint-based background checks for drivers. Holder’s former chief of staff and Covington employee, Margaret Richardson, also sits on Uber’s safety advisory board. Early Uber investors Mitch and Freada Kapor Klein called the move “disappointing.”
The first hint of Uber’s troubles surfaced in February, when a former engineer named Susan Fowler published a blog post about her work experience with rampant sexism and the failures of Uber’s managers to solve the issue at every turn. Her account went viral and resulted in widespread outrage.
Since then, it’s been scandal after scandal at Uber, from high-level executives running for the exit to revelations about legally questionable practices. Every time Uber’s employees thought they were climbing out of the hole they were in, a new controversy would surface and the hole would get deeper. It’s gotten to a point when some observers may read headlines like this and briefly assume they’re real.