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NEW YORK -- After allegations of sexual harassment and a toxic workplace from a former employee, Uber hired former Attorney General Eric Holder and his law firm to and come up with recommendations for changes. The report, which was released Tuesday to employees and to the public, recommends several changes to the ride-hailing app's workplace culture.
A summary of the key takeaways from the report follows:
CEO Travis Kalanick told employees he was taking an unspecified leave, during which he'll work on his leadership skills. Separately, the firm said Uber's board should review Kalanick's responsibilities and reassign some of them to others. Lawyers said the board should continue its search for a chief operating officer who is "diverse" and has a background in diversity and inclusion. The report also recommends adding more independent directors and replacing its chairman, Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, with an independent chairman. The board currently has eight voting members, three of whom are from within the company. The report also called for the appointment of a senior executive to oversee the implementation of its recommendations.
The report recommends that Uber ensure its workforce becomes more diverse from the top down. Bernard Coleman, the company's head of diversity, should report directly to the CEO or chief operating officer, the report says. Coleman should also communicate regularly with employees and address issues of both diversity and inclusion. Women and minorities who are hired must be included and supported.
The law firm is also urging Uber to adopt its version of the "Rooney Rule" for hiring women and underrepresented minorities. The rule, adapted from the NFL, is already in place at other large tech companies, such as Facebook. It means the company must interview at least one woman and one underrepresented minority for key positions. It doesn't mean they have to be hired, but they must at least be interviewed.
The firm said Uber needs to change its written cultural values to promote positive behavior, inclusion and collaboration. Uber needs to eliminate the values that have justified poor behavior in the past, the report said, like "Let Builders Build," ''Always Be Hustlin'," ''Meritocracy and Toe-Stepping" and "Principled Confrontation." The firm also recommended that Uber adopt flexible work arrangements to help retain employees with children and other outside obligations. Finally, the report said Uber should move its free catered dinner to an earlier time so employees with families can take advantage of it. That's a change Uber has already made. A spokesperson said Uber will now offer free dinner at 7 p.m. on weekdays; the dinner time was previously 8:15 p.m.
The report also said Uber should limit the amount of alcohol available at the office and at out-of-office events. In addition, the company needs to strictly prohibit drug use. The law firm also said romantic or intimate relationships between employees that report to each other should be prohibited.