Wednesday, 20 September, 2017

Uber top executive fired amid row on India rape probe

Uber hires new exec to improve company culture Uber via CNN
Christy Curtis | 10 June, 2017, 06:12

On Wednesday, Uber confirmed to USA TODAY and Recode that Alexander was no longer with the company.

Citing multiple sources, Recode reports that Alexander was investigating the claims in India for months and obtained the medical records of the rape victim which he later showed to CEO Kalanick and SVP Emil Michael.

Technology news site Recode said Mr Alexander was sacked only after the publication contacted the company about the story.

The memo is part of an investigation into 215 incidents of sexual harassment, bullying and other workplace transgressions being reviewed by law firm Perkins Coie, Recode reported.

In December 2014, an Uber driver in Delhi, India, raped a woman after she dozed off during the ride. "She had filed a lawsuit against the company, saying that Uber's "hollow" safety and driver screening practices was the cause for her unsafe situation".

This is according to Uber board member Arianna Huffington, who said during a telly interview that the ride-sharing startup's bro-in-chief has been using the mindfulness sessions as part of a plan to grow up and change Uber's toxic internal culture. He was later sentenced to life in prison for his actions, but the incident was sensational enough that it kept sidelined Uber from operations until the middle of the following year, 2015, which would certainly give the company a motive to debunk the rape victim's accusation.

However, it began operating in the capital later again. If true, they constitute a clear violation of user privacy guidelines and a criminal back in India. Whether the company still has a copy is unclear.

As per data shared by industry analysts, Uber has about 4,00,000 drivers in 29 Indian cities, while in comparison, Ola has about 5,50,000 drivers plying in 110 cities.

After this incident, Uber and Ola also made several improvements to their respective services including rolling out new security features for passengers and improving driver background checks among others.

An Uber spokeswoman told AFP on Thursday that Alexander is "no longer with the company", but failed to inform about the reasons for his disappearance or on the reports that were being handled by him of the India rape case. Former engineer Susan Fowler's allegations of sexual harassment exposed the rot in the company for the first time.

Alexander was one of Uber's associates to be summoned by the court to testify during the case, which later came to an off-court settlement with the victim for an undisclosed amount.

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