Stories

A year after Uber memo, sexual harassment far from fixed

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

In the year since Susan Fowler's viral blog post about her experiences working at Uber, executives have lost jobs, dozens of women have spoken out about sexual harassment in the workplace, and the #MeToo movement's revival in October has spread throughout business, politics and Hollywood. (See our timeline here.)

Yes, but: Underneath Uber's changes and the broader embrace of women speaking out, holding employers accountable and rectifying other forms of workplace discrimination remains a challenge.

  • Google is still pushing back on claims by the Labor Department and four female former employees that it pays women less than men.
  • Uber is also being sued by three female former employees, who allege being paid less than male peers and passed up for promotions.
  • Some male investors have responded to the wave of sexual harassment stories by declaring it's no longer safe for them to meet with female entrepreneurs. Others have criticized the women for being too sensitive or overreacting.
  • Many employee agreements still include arbitration clauses and class action waivers (which Fowler is helping fight against) that make it harder to fight against illegal employment practices.
  • The past year's discourse has also not addressed in great depth the addition of racism that women of color in tech and other industries also experience.
  • More broadly, the effect of workplace harassment and stress on employee mental health has seen little discussion.

Some progress: Nevertheless, there has been some visible change. Harassers have lost jobs, VC firms have instituted stronger policies, and even Google promptly fired a male engineer for his 10-page memo criticizing the company's diversity efforts.