Uber's HR chief never discussed sexism concerns with whistleblowing engineer

Liane Hornsey says there'd be no benefit in meeting with Susan Fowler - report

Uber's head of HR has never met with the engineer whose blog post raised the curtain on allegations of sexism and harassment at the ride-hailing firm.

Liane Hornsey, who joined Uber a month before Susan Fowler detailed various allegations of widespread chauvinism and systemic sexism at the company, admitted she hasn't met with Fowler to discuss the issues since in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

She said: "I have said, very publicly, "Thank you" to her because she raised some stuff that did lead to change. I don't know whether there would be any benefit in meeting her. I'm seriously working for my employees today; she's an ex-employee."

Fowler responded on Twitter to remark: "She really, really doesn't like me."

Hornsey, who joined Uber in January after Fowler left in December 2016, said Fowler's blog post "was very difficult for this company", and resulted in HR carrying out 200 "listening sessions", and a personal promise from her to answer every employee email within 48 hours.

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Uber charged a former attorney general with leading an external review into Uber's practices, and accepted 47 recommendations his report made in June - the implementation of most of these is Hornsey's responsibility.

She said: "I truly believe we're making progress on all of them, with the exception of a couple that we've held off on." One is hiring a chief diversity officer, which she wants new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to weigh in on, and another is reviewing Uber's cultural values, which also requires his input.

But Fowler, who had dismissed the external review as "optics" at the time, also criticised Hornsey's comments around having difficulty finding female engineers to interview for roles (another recommendation), after the HR chief said Uber had found and made contact with 1,800 of them.

"Did ya'll know that there are only 1800 women engineers? Uber has identified them all," Fowler remarked sarcastically.

Hornsey also said diversity is a priority for Uber's new CEO, who has already contrasted with former boss Travis Kalanick's style by admitting "we've got things wrong" in response to TfL's refusal to renew the ride-hailing firm's licence to operate in London last month.

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