Lawson: No place in workplace for Uber sexual harassment

Angelica Lawson

Unwanted sexual advances have been a part of our society for far too long, and too many people have been subjected to these unwanted advances.

Sexual harassment is never OK, and, as many of us are getting ready to enter the workforce, it’s important to know how to protect yourself in case you ever experience it. 

Uber has been making headlines in a negative way, sparking the trending hashtag #deleteuber.

It first surfaced when an ill-timed promotion was tweeted during a New York City taxi strike after President Donald Trump issued his executive order on immigration. 

The hashtag is trending again because a former employee, Susan Fowler, said in a blog post that Uber did not properly handle her workplace sexual harassment claims.

Fowler said Uber human resources and her direct supervisors did not want to take the necessary disciplinary actions to ensure her workplace was comfortable and free of hostility.

The person who made the unwanted sexual advances had a gleaming record, Fowler said, and the higher-ups at Uber did not want to blemish his work record with a sexual harassment complaint.

Fowler heard similar stories from other co-workers and decided to leave Uber.

As students graduate and start new careers, it is important that we know our rights and how to protect ourselves in these types of situations, because no one should feel uncomfortable or threatened in their workplace. 

In class, we learn the protocols that must be followed when harassment occurs, including contacting your immediate supervisor, letting them know what happened and filing an official complaint.

If these steps don’t work, the next step is reporting the harassment to someone in human resources and telling them you already launched a complaint with your immediate supervisor.

Filing a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission is beneficial as well. It can protect you from retaliation from your employer and make it easier for you to make a case against the employer.

The person who harassed you should be disciplined, and the harassment should come to an end. If it does not stop and management retaliates against you, the next step is to consult a lawyer about your rights.

Sexual harassment should never be tolerated. Unfortunately, there are people who do not have respect for their co-workers and choose to violate them. You do not have to put up with these behaviors. Your workplace’s human resources department should be your No. 1 defense, but if it fails, you have to know your rights or get in touch with someone who does so you can protect yourself.

Unfortunately, Fowler chose to leave her position at Uber because she did not feel comfortable there and decided that seeking other employment was in her best interest.

Uber did not handle this case correctly. The company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, said there will be an investigation into the claims by Fowler, but the damage is already done.

Hopefully, because of Fowler’s courage to publicly write about her experience, Uber and other companies will take these claims seriously and protect all of their employees.