Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Uber asks top executive Amit Singhal to resign for not disclosing sexual harassment allegation

Uber Technologies Inc has asked senior executive Amit Singhal to leave the company for failing to disclose a sexual harassment allegation stemming from his tenure at Alphabet Inc’s Google, an Uber spokesperson said on Monday.

The move comes as the ride services company is investigating allegations of sexual harassment in its own organisation.

Earlier this month, a female former engineer at Uber said in a widely read blog post that managers and human resources officers at the company had not punished her manager after she reported his unwanted sexual advances, and even threatened her with a poor performance review.

The allegations, by Susan Fowler, highlighted the long-standing problem of gender discrimination in the technology industry.

Uber last week hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a review of the claims, and Chief Executive Travis Kalanick called the allegations by Fowler “abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in”.

Kalanick on Monday asked senior vice president of engineering Singhal to resign after technology news website Recode informed Uber of the previous sexual harassment allegation, the Uber spokesperson said. Recode was the first to report Singhal’s departure on Monday.

Singhal, who was hired in January, did not disclose the allegations when Uber hired him, nor were they revealed by reference checks, the Uber spokeswoman said.

Singhal did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. In a statement to Recode he denied the allegation of harassment but acknowledged a dispute with Google.

“Harassment is unacceptable in any setting. I certainly want everyone to know that I do not condone and have not committed such behavior,” Singhal wrote to Recode. “In my 20-year career, I’ve never been accused of anything like this before and the decision to leave Google was my own.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Singhal led Google’s search division, the financial powerhouse of Alphabet. He left Google about a year ago after 15 years at the company, saying he planned to focus on philanthropy. He announced his plan to join Uber in January, saying he would work closely with Kalanick on the company’s self-driving car program.

The Uber spokesperson said the company did not believe its hiring process was flawed, but rather it was an issue with Singhal’s failure to disclose the matter.

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