back to article Uber hires Obama's attorney-general to review its workplaces

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has appointed Eric Holder, once United States attorney-general under Barack Obama and now a partner of law firm Covington & Burling, to conduct a review of the “specific issues relating to the work place environment raised by Susan Fowler, as well as diversity and inclusion at Uber more broadly.” …

  1. Aaiieeee
    Holmes

    Is quoting the % of female staff ironic willy waving?

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      @Aaiieeee

      Yes. Effectively. "Look, we employ more women than you!" "No, we do!" "We have one more than you, so we have an extra 0.2% more!"

      If you have to resort to this kind of willy-waving, you have a problem, regardless.

  2. Dr Scrum Master

    Why?

    I wonder why people want to be associated with Uber, but then there are plenty of people who want to work at Capita and the like.... well, there were.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      There is a Russian saying: Деньги не пахнут. Money has no smell.

      End of the day, it is just a job (yes, I know, the guards at Dachau and Auschwitz said the same).

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        It's much, much older - and not Russian. In Latin, "Pecunia non olet" - attributed to emperor Vespasian.

        But I understand Putin thinks the same....

        1. TitterYeNot
          Coat

          Re: Why?

          "It's much, much older - and not Russian. In Latin, "Pecunia non olet" - attributed to emperor Vespasian."

          Yes, the phrase was supposedly uttered by Vaspasian when talking about the taxation of urine extracted from public cesspools to be used as a source of ammonia (i.e. the coins he gathered from the tax did not smell of urine, so were as good a source of income as any other.)

          I've no idea why, but it seems rather appropriate when discussing an article about Über. Taxation, taking the piss, cesspools...

          <Coughs>

  3. Noonoot

    Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

    I've often asked myself the same question.

    And why is that companies promote themselves using adjectives and ideals that follow the "gender equality" agenda when if I were CEO of any of these companies I would be embarassed to say the least that 15% or even 19% of the staff were women.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

      Women make up less than 50% of the total workforce. Those numbers are all higher than the average for the tech sector which is, I think, 10% in engineering roles.

      So that's why they quote them, they are better than average.

      Far, far too many variables know what a fair number should be. Should companies offer training to make up the difference leaving education (like they did in the 60s)?

      At my place we have a strong rebalance going on, but we pay women 15% more than men.

      1. Solarflare

        Re: Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

        "At my place we have a strong rebalance going on, but we pay women 15% more than men."

        Seriously? You get paid 15% less because you're a man? Haven't you started a lawsuit as that's pretty illegal in most countries...

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

          The way it works is we set salaries so that we get an even number of applicants from both sexes. So we will look at CVs for men upto £60,000 and women upto £75,000 for a senior dev role, for example.

          Once the CVs are in we hire the best person for the job at the rate they asked for.

          The net effect is that women are paid more for the same job, but we've not discriminated during the evaluation of applicants and we aren't explicitly paying more (if the best candidate was a woman and applied at the £60k rate, we'd hire her at that).

          HR say it's all legal. I'm not sure, but I'm not rocking that particular boat.

          1. Reue

            Re: Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

            Not discriminating during the CV evaluation but absolutely discriminating during the CV acceptance.

            Disgusting really.

          2. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

            "HR say it's all legal"

            It SCREAMS like some l[aw]yer came up with that particular 'hack' to get on the good side of the quota-nazis.

            You should, of course, pick people who are most PROFITABLE for the company, instead. There is NO other criteria for business to be successful. Anything else is just a bunch of FEELERS "feeling" instead of thinking.

            Hiring quotas. Worst thing EVAR excreted from the bowels of hell to justify social manipulation by gumint elitists [keeping themselves in power because they're 'such good people'], while PRETENDING to 'level the playing field' for hiring. How manipulative.

            _I_ know why fewer women are Uber drivers: It's _DANGEROUS_ to let strangers ride with you in your car. And too many gummints pass laws to LIMIT! YOUR! ABILITY! TO! DEFEND! YOURSELF! *LEGALLY*!!! Net result: fewer women willing to take THAT risk. There's just not enough money in it.

          3. indigomm

            Re: Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

            Your HR department is woefully wrong, and quite clearly so. The practice is indirect discrimination and prohibited under the Equality Act (section 19).

            An simple argument is to change the salary levels you quote, since these are arbitrary and set by the company. What would happen if you only looked at male candidates asking for under £20,000? Then of course you will get no male candidates qualified for the position applying and would only ever appoint a female candidate.

      2. Fazal Majid

        Re: Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

        The fair number should be the same as enrollment in university CS courses. Unfortunately that number has actually been declining:

        http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/10/17/356944145/episode-576-when-women-stopped-coding

        1. Alan_Peery

          Re: Re:Why? and then we ask ourselves why women in are few and far between

          > the same as enrollment in university CS

          Seems you should be taking the population into account, and not just grads. If you're only hiring grads, you're practicing age discrimination.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Interesting

    Arianna Huffington (often said she thought it Sen. Huffington said it) and Obama's former AG working together.

    Now that's what I call "Across the isle" support.

    I'm not sure what for exactly.

    BTW Ubers business model (burn VC funds to drive competitors out of business to secure a near monopoly on a transport mode) is not unknown in the UK.

    Say hello to "Stagecoach" and their destruction of local bus services across the UK. Obviously Uber being USian their goals are more ambitious.

    1. Dave Harvey
      Devil

      Re: Interesting

      And I always thought that the boss of Stagecoach was such a lovely, tolerant, unblemished "Christian" guy!

  5. Redstone

    Given the amount of corruption Eric Holder managed to miss in the Obama administration, I'm sure he will give Uber a clean bill of 'diversity' health.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Mushroom

      @Redstone

      Absolutely!

      Holder is corrupt and his firm is being brought in to whitewash the whole thing.

      They will find her claims to be unsubstantiated and innuendo at best.

      He was even hired to pick fights with the Trump Administration on behalf of the State of California, however it was soon pointed out that it would be illegal to hire outside counsel when the state already had competent attorneys on staff who can do the same job.

  6. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    what I don't understand is why the blokes don't jump ship as well, I would. are they too crap to get a job anywhere else or do they just enjoy all being arseholes together?

  7. Solarflare

    I'm sure...

    ...that given what I know of Uber, the vast majority of the workforce probably are arses. Further, I wouldn't be overly surprised if it was a sexist and pretty toxic workplace in general. However, when did it get to the point that a single accusation becomes paramount to a sentance? This article and the previous one is taking absolutely everything as flat fact, even to the point of the comments on the last article jumping on the guy who wanted to hear the other side before passing judgement.

  8. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Pirate

    Holder, of Fast and Furious and Operation Choke Point fame?! The guy who refused to go after his buddies at the top of the too big to fail banks saying this?

    Responsibility remains so diffuse, and top executives so insulated, that any misconduct could again be considered more a symptom of the institution's culture than a result of the willful actions of any single individual.

    Well at least he'll have the help of the chief of HR who has without doubt been digging into this from the beginning. Now all they need is a woman and perhaps an immigrant on the team to show how committed they are to diversity! Oh, it seems he's got those bases covered. Well played Travis you've managed to tick all the boxes. There will be no rebutting this team's glowing report of Uber.

  9. Oh Bother

    Another Russian saying

    "The fish rots from the head.".

  10. adam 40
    WTF?

    Thought Police

    Kalanick released this statement through Uber "We seek to make Uber a just workplace and there can be absolutely no place for this kind of behavior at Uber — and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired."

    Now I have a few problems with this....

    a) How do they know what the employee is _thinking_?

    b) What if they are thinking that, but keep it to themselves, and don't act on it - is that really a sacking offence?

    c) What the f***?

    If anyone needs sacking, it's the guy who comes up with a corporate policy like that.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Replacing current drivers in cars with autonomous cars would not be an injustice. That would increase human productivity.and therefore make humanity wealthier.

    The accusations against Uber relate to how it treats people while it needs them.

  12. Andromeda451

    Holder

    Former AG Holder... His crew gave us weapons shipped to Mexico and "lost" as well as other excellent adventures. He got US border agents and countless Mexican citizens killed. His lack of competence is awe inspiring. GOOD RIDDANCE.

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