Uber’s head of HR resigns in the wake of discrimination probe

11 Jul 2018

Uber logo. Image: vfhnb12/Shutterstock

Liane Hornsey, Uber’s head of HR, quits following a discrimination investigation.

Uber has seen the departure of yet another high-profile executive as Liane Hornsey exited the company earlier this week. According to Bloomberg, Hornsey’s resignation was sparked after an anonymous entity emailed Uber’s designated address for whistleblowers as well as its chief legal officer, Tony West.

The anonymous author(s) of the emails threatened to publicise their issues if Uber neglected to address the concerns outlined.

Dismissing racial discrimination claims

Hornsey was accused of dismissing internal allegations of racial discrimination, according to a source who had access to the email.

Reuters reported that Hornsey had been in the role of HR chief for approximately 18 months, all while the company endured multiple sexual harassment and gender discrimination scandals.

In an email to staff, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi praised Hornsey, describing her as “talented, creative and hardworking”. In a separate email, Hornsey acknowledged that her resignation “comes a little out of the blue for some of you” but added that she had been contemplating her exit for some time.

A group of employees presented issues

A broad group of employees of colour are behind the allegations, Reuters said. They accused Hornsey of using discriminatory language and making derogatory comments about Uber’s global head of diversity and inclusion, Bernard Coleman.

The group also alleged that Hornsey threatened former executive Bozoma Saint John, who left the company last month.

Investigators at law firm Gibson Dunn told employees that some of the claims were substantiated in a May email.

According to the employees who filed the allegations, Uber’s anonymous tip-line complaints were often left unresolved or dismissed, particularly if race was an element.

Some Uber employees continue to have concerns about the working environment at the company, even after it said measures were put in place following Fowler’s blogpost in February 2017.

During her tenure, Hornsey initially defended former CEO Travis Kalanick as Fowler’s incendiary blogpost spread throughout the web.

Uber logo. Image: vfhnb12/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects