Final Payouts Announced in Uber Settlement, November Hearing Scheduled
According to a final settlement report that was recently submitted to a federal judge in Oakland, California, 56 current and former employees are set to collect an average of $33,928.57. Additionally, those employees and 431 other minority and female engineers will receive an estimated $11,000 each for pay disparities they experienced. The payments were calculated based on how long the discrimination lasted and how severe each case was after reviewing witness statements and associated documentation. The impact on each victim and the job title of each alleged perpetrator was also reviewed prior to making compensation decisions.
Uber agreed to pay $10 million to settle the litigation in March. Only two people covered by the settlement have opted out, and, so far, there have been no objections. “We agree with the plaintiff’s motion which states that ‘the class has responded extremely favorably to the settlement’ with amounts that are ‘fair, reasonable, and adequate,” Uber said.
The lawsuits came about following former Uber engineer, Susan Fowler’s, account of high-level employees engaging in frat-like behavior, creating a hostile work environment. She posted an essay detailing her firsthand account of being sexually harassed at the company.
Jahan Sagafi, an attorney who negotiated on behalf of the employees, said he was “happy that the settlement approval process is progressing as planned,” adding, “So [once approved] we can pay class members for these discrimination and harassment claims and begin the three-year effort to monitor Uber’s implementation of the HR improvements.”
In July, the head of Uber’s human resources, Liane Horney, resigned after having been in her position for 18 months, following an internal investigation into how she handled racial discrimination claims. Her resignation came just one year following the departure of founder Travis Kalanick, who left following reports of gender discrimination and harassment. He was forced out by investors.
Anonymous whistleblowers claimed Hornsey systematically dismissed internal complaints. They said reports to the company’s anonymous employee tip line were usually left unresolved or dismissed altogether. Hornsey also used discriminatory language and made derogatory comments about two fellow executives.
In a final email to employees, Hornsey said she realized her decision “comes a little out of the blue for some of you, but I have been thinking about this for a while.” Uber officially responded to her resignation by saying, “We are confident that the investigation was conducted in an unbiased, thorough and credible manner, and that the conclusions of the investigation were addressed appropriately.”
Since that time, new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Expedia, has focused on turning around the company’s reputation and revamping a toxic corporate culture. Khosrowshahi was highly praised by Expedia employees with a 94 percent approval rating and may just be the golden ticket Uber needs to create positive change. He has settled a number of the outstanding lawsuits in his attempt to turn around the culture. Khosrowshahi, however, praised Hornsey’s style during the transition, sending an email to employees saying she is “incredibly talented, creative and hard-working.”
A hearing on the final settlement numbers is scheduled for November 6.