Following up on accusations of sexual harassment within the company, Uber fired 20 employees on Tuesday. The sexual harassment scandal is one of many recent controversies surrounding the world’s most valuable private tech company. The move was announced internally, to the company’s employees.
An investigation by outside law firm Perkins Coie inquired into 215 claims of incidents, including problems ranging from bullying to sexual harassment. Uber took no action in 100 of the claims, while many are still under investigation.
The current investigation by Perkins Coie will lay a foundation for an investigation by former US attorney general Eric Holder. Holder has already given Uber’s board recommendations based on the Perkins Coie investigation, which will be released to employees next week.
An internal investigation was launched by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, after former employee Susan Fowler described experiences of gender bias and sexual harassment while working at the company. In addition to the Perkins Coie investigation, Uber has conducted its own internal interviews.
In addition to the terminations, seven Uber employees have been given written warnings about past behavior, and another 30 will be given special training, according to an unnamed source who spoke to Business Insider. Most of the complaints were from the Uber headquarters in San Francisco.
The firings mark the most significant repercussions yet for the company, which has faced a series of scandals in recent months. One controversy led to the resignation of Uber’s senior vice president of engineering, when the company learned he had neglected to disclose allegations of sexual harassment at a previous job.
Uber has also been sued by Waymo, Google’s self-driving car outfit, over accusations that employees had stolen technology. The engineer allegedly responsible, Anthony Levandowski, was fired last month.
However, the company has suffered the most damage to its image from the sexual harassment allegations, which it has been slow to respond to.
Just May, Uber’s human resources chief Liane Hornsey, denied that sexual harassment is a problem at the company, saying:
“(Fowler’s) blog shocked me. But, what did surprise me, was when I did the listening sessions, this didn’t come up as an issue. It wasn’t one of our big themes. Other things came up that are in that area, that our values are masculine and a little aggressive, but the harassment issue, I just didn’t find that at all.”