Uber Harassment Case Shows A New Obstacle For Women

Opinion
By Rex Huppke
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As columnist Rex Huppke points out, “It’s 2017. We should be breaking down the obstacles that might prevent a worker from reporting abuse, not allowing additional obstacles, like the wrath of internet trolls, to stand in a person’s way.”

Chicago Tribune

There have always been obstacles that prevent women from reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.

Will they believe me? Will the problem be fixed? Will my reputation be hurt? Will I wind up losing my job?

It would be nice to think we live in more enlightened times, that a person experiencing abuse could step forward without fear.

But the truth, as illustrated by recent allegations of harassment at Uber made by a former employee, an engineer who penned a viral blog post about her experiences, is that those obstacles exist as much as harassment does, and there’s now an added concern: online trolls always eager to attack.

The Uber case began with a blog post by Susan Fowler that detailed a yearlong pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination that she says was met with indifference and even a blaming-the-victim response by the company’s human resources department.

Fowler described one of her early experiences: “On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. … It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.”

According to her blog post, Fowler was told the manager “was a high performer” and that they “wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to.”

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