On Thursday, early investors in Uber criticized the company in a letter for failing to end a toxic culture of harassment
The Kapors’ letter
The blog post by former Uber employee Susan Fowler stated how she was sexually harassed by a manager and that human resources and upper management refused to punish the offender and even threatened her with a bad performance review, led Mitch and Freada Kapor to publicly scold the company.
The Kapors wrote in a letter online that Uber’s outsize success in terms of growth of market share, revenues and valuation are impressive, but can never excuse a culture plagued by disrespect, exclusionary cliques, lack of diversity, and tolerance for bullying and harassment of every form.
The Kapors run the Kapor Center, based in Oakland, which promotes diversity and inclusion in technology. They are the sole investors to publicly mention the recent allegations against Uber.
They wrote that Uber has had countless opportunities to do the right thing.” “We feel we have hit a dead end,” they added.
Investigation in process
Uber hired Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General, to lead the investigation along with attorney Tammy Albarran, and it has repeated its commitment to investigate Fowler’s claims.
On Thursday, in response to the Kapors’ letter, Holder and Albarran stated that they will be thorough, impartial and objective, and we are conducting this review with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism.
However, according to the Kapors, there’s a conflict of interest that might get in the way of the investigations. Since June, Holder has been working for Uber to deter lawmakers from requiring background checks for drivers using fingerprint. Arianna Huffington, Uber board member, and the company’s HR chief will be joining him.
The couple wrote that they are disappointed to see that Uber has selected a team of insiders to investigate its destructive culture and that they make recommendations for change.
Unusual letter in Silicon Valley:
Silicon Valley has been surprised by The Kapors’ letter, as they are used to investors defending their startups.
Adviser to technology companies on diversity and inclusion and former CEO of Great Place to Work, Susan Lucas-Conwell, said that she applauds the honesty of the Kapors for commenting on these highly sensitive issues and highlighting the importance of culture in the workplace. “I can’t think of when I’ve see such a statement from an investor of a company such as Uber,” she added.