Uber executive fired over medical records of Indian rape victim

8 Jun 2017

Uber cards. Image: Ink Drop/Shutterstock

In addition to the 20 people fired by Uber over sexual harassment claims, top Uber executive Eric Alexander has also been fired for holding on to a woman’s medical records.

Yesterday (7 June), news broke that Uber had fired 20 members of staff following an investigation into 215 claims of sexual harassment, with 59 cases still being assessed.

Now, according to Recode, Uber’s president of business in the Asia Pacific region, Eric Alexander, has been fired for obtaining and holding on to the medical records of a woman raped during an Uber ride in India.

It is believed Alexander kept the medical records for up to a year, and showed them to the highest management within Uber, including CEO Travis Kalanick and the company’s senior vice-president, Emil Michael.

Further down the chain, the documents were shown, or at least discussed, with a number of other executives at the company.

The incident in India occurred in 2014, when a then-26-year-old New Delhi woman reported she was raped by an Uber driver as she was getting a ride home late one night.

An investigation into the incident later found the man guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison while awaiting trial for four other charges.

Following condemnation from Uber for the man’s actions, the company was criticised for its hiring policy in the country, with the New Delhi police force accusing it of being too lax in its background checks.

‘He should have fired him immediately’

Just a few months later, Uber was officially banned from operating in the city despite rolling out a number of new safety features aimed to give passengers greater peace of mind on journeys in India.

Uber has denied that Alexander was counted among yesterday’s 20 firings, stating that it was decided he would be let go when the company found out about his actions.

Quoting one executive, Recode said the opinion of those who saw the document was that Kalanick, in his capacity as CEO, should have acted sooner when Alexander first brought the documents to them.

“Travis never should have looked at the report, and he should have fired him immediately,” the executive said.

Uber cards. Image:  Ink Drop/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic