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Uber CEO Kalanick says review underway on blog alleging gender harassment at company

Uber's CEO Travis Travis Kalanick has sent a company-wide email responding to a blog written by former employee Susan Fowler alleging workplace sexual harassment, according to a copy posted on Twitter on late Monday in the U.S. and confirmed by CNBC, announcing a review led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder along with a partner at the law firm of Covington & Burling.

The email also said the Uber board member Arianna Huffington, and recently hired Human Resources head Liane Hornsey, as well as the company's associate general counsel Angela Padilla will join the probe. Among the allegations in Fowler's blog, was a pattern of sexual harassment and gender bias during her roughly year-long employment at the company, including via the internal messaging system.

"On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn't. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn't help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with."

Kalanick's email did not go into details about the claims by Fowler, but did indirectly address gender diversity at the firm.

"There have been many questions about the gender diversity of Uber's technology teams," Kalanick wrote in the email. "If you look across our engineering, product management, and scientist roles, 15.1 percent of employees are women and this has not changed substantially in the last year. As points of reference, Facebook is at 17 percent, Google at 19 percent and Twitter is at 15 percent."

[Editor's note: Uber issued revisions to Kalanick's statement on the other companies' diversity statistics. Those changes have made to the above quote and below reproduction. The original version of his note under-reported the percentage of female employees at Google and Twitter.]

He added that the review would be conducted in "short order."

Uber provided a copy of the email below:

Team,

It's been a tough 24 hours. I know the company is hurting, and understand everyone has been waiting for more information on where things stand and what actions we are going to take.

First, Eric Holder, former US Attorney General under President Obama, and Tammy Albarran -- both partners at the leading law firm Covington & Burling-- will conduct an independent review into the specific issues relating to the work place environment raised by Susan Fowler, as well as diversity and inclusion at Uber more broadly. Joining them will be Arianna Huffington, who sits on Uber's board, Liane Hornsey, our recently hired Chief Human Resources Officer, and Angela Padilla, our Associate General Counsel. I expect them to conduct this review in short order.

Second, Arianna is flying out to join me and Liane at our all hands meeting tomorrow to discuss what's happened and next steps. Arianna and Liane will also be doing smaller group and one-on-one listening sessions to get your feedback directly.

Third, there have been many questions about the gender diversity of Uber's technology teams. If you look across our engineering, product management, and scientist roles, 15.1% of employees are women and this has not changed substantively in the last year. As points of reference, Facebook is at 17%, Google at 19% and Twitter is at 15%. Liane and I will be working to publish a broader diversity report for the company in the coming months.

I believe in creating a workplace where a deep sense of justice underpins everything we do. Every Uber employee should be proud of the culture we have and what we will build together over time. What is driving me through all this is a determination that we take what's happened as an opportunity to heal wounds of the past and set a new standard for justice in the workplace. It is my number one priority that we come through this a better organization, where we live our values and fight for and support those who experience injustice.

Thanks,

Travis

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Updated: This post was updated after Uber issued revisions to Kalanick's statement on other companies' diversity statistics.