Ride-sharing company Uber has agreed to strengthen its culture against sexual harassment and retaliation as part of a settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The settlement, announced Wednesday, ends an EEOC investigation that “found reasonable cause to believe that Uber permitted a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complained about such harassment,” in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Revelations that Uber executives tolerated a culture of harassment were a factor in the ouster of CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick in 2017.
As part of the agreement with the EEOC, Uber will establish a class fund of $4.4 million to compensate anyone who the EEOC determines experienced sexual harassment and/or related retaliation after Jan. 1, 2014. Additionally, the company has agreed to create a system for identifying employees who have been the subject of more than one harassment complaint and for identifying managers who fail to respond to concerns of sexual harassment in a timely manner.
Uber has also agreed to update its policies with input from a third-party consultant and continue conducting climate surveys and exit interviews, focusing on workplace sexual harassment and retaliation. Former EEOC Commissioner Fred Alvarez will monitor Uber for three years.
“This agreement holds Uber accountable, and, going forward, positions the company to innovate and transform the tech industry by modeling effective measures against sexual harassment and retaliation,” said EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic, co-chair of the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, who also initiated the Commissioner’s charge after widespread publicity in 2017 concerning the treatment of female employees at Uber.
EEOC San Francisco District Director William Tamayo added: “In particular, employers should take note of Uber’s commitment to holding management accountable and identifying repeat offenders so that high-performing, superstar harassers are not allowed to continue their behavior.”