May 21, 2018

Former employee sues Uber for sexual harassment

The Uber ride sharing app is seen on an Android device. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Following it's policy change around sexual harassment claims, Uber is facing its first test: a lawsuit from a female former engineer filed on Monday in San Francisco Superior Court, alleging she was harassed by male colleagues with little response from the company's human resources department.

Why it matters: Uber made the bold (but cautious) move last week of exempting employees, drivers, and riders from its arbitration agreements for individual sexual harassment and assault claims.

Note: Ingrid Avendaño, who filed the lawsuit, was part of the group of female engineers that filed a labor complaint last summer alleging gender discrimination and harassment at Uber. The class action was settled in March for $10 million, which Avendaño has opted out of in order to pursue this lawsuit, a spokesperson confirmed.

Avendaño's claims include:

  • A male coworker made comments to other employees that she had gotten her job because "she had slept with someone at the company."
  • Another male coworker touched her upper thigh while intoxicated during a company trip and made other sexual advances towards her including telling her that he wants to "take her home."
  • Male coworkers made repeated comments about her appearance and body.
  • Many of her complaints were ignored and the company retaliated against her by passing her over for promotions for throwing senior officials “under the bus.”

From Uber:

Uber is moving in a new direction. Last week, we proactively announced changes to our arbitration policies. And in the past year we have implemented a new salary and equity structure based on the market, overhauled our performance review process, published Diversity & Inclusion reports, and created and delivered diversity and leadership trainings to thousands of employees globally.

The story has been updated with more details from the lawsuit.

Go deeper

Wells Fargo's small busines surprise

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wells Fargo surprised small business owners late Sunday when it said that it had run out of money to lend to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the federal stopgap for COVID-19 relief.

  • But an announcement by the Federal Reserve today might quell concerns for the customers who will be hard-pressed to apply for cash elsewhere.

Why it matters: Because of restrictions placed on Wells Fargo after its fake accounts scandal, one of the nation's biggest lenders says it's had to turn away struggling small business customers.

Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor from delaying state's primary

Tony Evers. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Wisconsin's Supreme Court on Monday blocked an executive order by Gov. Tony Evers (D) that attempted to delay in-person voting for the state's primary election — currently scheduled for Tuesday — until June 9.

Driving the news: Judges ruled 4-2 along ideological lines that Evers does not have the power as governor to unilaterally postpone the election, despite the fact that the state has a stay-at-home order in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 58 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 1,331,032 — Total deaths: 73,917 — Total recoveries: 275,851Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 356,942 — Total deaths: 10,524 — Total recoveries: 18,999Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor orders in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  4. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  5. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  6. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.