Given everything that's happened to Uber in the last four months, it's instructive to go back and re-read the blog post that started it all, in which former Uber engineer Susan Fowler laid out abuses she claims to have experienced at the company. They include:
- A male manager who solicited her for sex on her very first day on his team and was not disciplined by HR because he was a "high performer" and it was his "first offense." Later, she claims to have discovered that the same manager had done similar things in the past.
- Having two formal performance reviews, which she claims were "perfect," downgraded after the fact by a different manager for unspecified reasons.
- Being part of a team where the managers bought custom leather jackets for all the men but not the women because they supposedly couldn't get a bulk discount on the women's coats.
All of these things are appalling, and some are possibly illegal. But maybe Fowler was an outlier, a particularly unfortunate employee who worked for a couple of particularly unprofessional managers. Or maybe she was lying or exaggerating.
That line of thinking quickly dissipated after a follow-up story in the New York Times three days later, in which reporter Mike Isaac collected similar stories of harassment and aggressive management behavior from more than 30 current and former employees.
Now, the results of the investigation by outside law firm Covington & Burling published on Tuesday make it crystal clear that Uber was running without some very basic management structures in place.