In February 2017, a former employee of Uber created a blog post that discussed a sexist, toxic work environment at the famous startup. In her piece, she claimed that she received sexual propositions from a manager who was never disciplined because of his strong performance. She also described a culture that felt chaotic and ruthlessly centered around managers’ need to “one-up each other.” After the piece was posted, the startup hired a law firm to investigate the claims and determine how far, if at all, sexism and retaliation went at the company.
The investigation found that the post writer’s experience was hardly unique. Uber employees faced numerous instances of sexual harassment, retaliation, and discriminatory treatment. It determined that the solution for Uber’s problems was a massive culture overhaul, which included changes like greater board oversight and altering the timing of staff meals. A company’s culture plays a substantial role in employee success. When a company is found to foster a hostile work environment, significant changes are necessary to prevent further harm.
Toxic Work Environments
A toxic work environment is one where harassment and other forms of discrimination are commonplace. In this type of environment, management either perpetuates the abuse or at the very least, ignores it. As a result, employees often suffer from decreased productivity and worsened physical and mental health, which can impact their ability to advance.
Toxic work environments hurt more than just the direct victims of the mistreatment. When other employees see that speaking up about sexism and discrimination falls on deaf ears or leads to retaliation, they learn to overlook problems they see and might not support their colleagues who suffer at the hands of management. This can also lead to a culture of refusing to cooperate with harassment and discrimination investigations.
Changing a Workplace Culture
Workplace cultures, like national and regional cultures, can be deeply entrenched and seem impossible to change. But they can change. In the case involving Uber, one of the pillars of the aggressive, sometimes exclusionary tech industry, suggested changes were written into a 13-page blueprint from the investigating law firm.
A workplace’s culture can change only if is workers are willing to make changes. Following the blueprint, Uber’s Human Resources chief sent an email to all the company’s workers detailing the changes ahead and expressing confidence that they could successfully implement these changes and stage a “truly incredible redemption story.” Cultural changes do not occur overnight. Rather, they are a series of changed reactions to incidents and greater accountability by all members of a company.
Bucks County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. Represent Workplace Sexism Victims
If you have been a victim of sexism in your workplace, you have the right to take action. Our firm is committed to fighting for those who have been treated unfairly because of their gender. Contact us online or call 215-569-1999 to schedule a free consultation with a Bucks County sexual harassment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. Our office is in Philadelphia and we work with clients across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.