Uber setting up fund after US sex harassment probe

FILE - In this May 10, 2019, file photo the statue of Fearless Girl stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange before Ube
FILE - In this May 10, 2019, file photo the statue of Fearless Girl stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange before Uber, the world's largest ride-hailing service, holds its initial public offering. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

A US federal commission has said Uber Technologies will establish a 4.4 million dollar (£3.3 million) fund for employees who experienced sexual harassment while they worked at the San Francisco ride-hailing company.

The settlement ends an investigation by the US equal employment opportunity commission launched in 2017 after a former Uber engineer detailed harassment she experienced in a widely-shared blog post.

The commission said it found reasonable cause to believe the company “permitted a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complained about such harassment”.

A claims administrator will send notices to women who worked at Uber between January 1 2014, and June 30 2019.

The commission will determine which claimants may be eligible for money from the fund.

The company has also agreed to create a system to identify serial offenders and managers who fail to respond to concerns about sexual harassment in a timely manner.

The company fired 20 people, including some managers, after an investigation by former US Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm.

The commission’s district director in San Francisco, William Tamayo, applauded Uber’s commitment to accountability, and said the “tech industry, among others, has often ignored allegations of sexual harassment when an accused harasser is seen as more valuable to the company than the accuser”.

Uber’s chief legal officer Tony West said he was pleased to work with the commission on the settlement.

Uber revealed this month that more than 3,000 sexual assaults were reported during its US rides in 2018.

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