Uber doesn’t seem to be at the end of its controversies just yet. A former Uber engineer has sued the ride service on Monday. The lawsuit alleges that her co-workers sexually harassed her during her time in the company, despite multiple complaints to the Human Resources Department that resulted in no action.
The lawsuit is filed by Ingrid Avendaño, who started working with Uber in 2014 and quit the company last year. During her tenure with the organization, she claims she was denied promotions or increases in pay because she approached HR about the sexual misconduct.
According to Ms. Avendaño, her complaints were ignored continuously. One of the incidents she reported to the HR was about a male software engineer who constantly commented at a recruiting event that Uber was the “type of company where women can sleep their way to the top.” A few months later, the same male engineer told people in the company that she got a job at Uber because she slept with someone. The engineer was ultimately fired after she complained again to HR.
In the complaint, Avendano mentioned that during her tenure from February 2014 to June 2017, she experienced a “male-dominated work culture, permeated with degrading, marginalizing, discriminatory, and sexually harassing conduct toward women.”
“For years, she wanted to help make Uber a safe and just place to work for herself and other female employees,” Avendano’s lawyer Jennifer Schwartz, a partner at Outten & Golden, said in a statement.
Avendano further said that men would openly talk about who they wanted to have sex with and share highly explicit content in instant messaging, and they also made inappropriate comments about her appearance. Avendano is Hispanic, and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for her gender bias, racial bias, and harassment claims. The lawsuit is filed with the California Superior Court in San Francisco.
Uber reached a $10 million settlement in March in a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming discrimination against more than 400 women and minorities. Avendano decided against being a part of the lawsuit and decided to sue on her own.