Are you still using Uber?

WTF is wrong with you?

Here’s yet another story about the sexist culture at that place. She’s recounting how a pig named “Mike#2” was allowed to run rampant.

Other female employees who were his seniors often discussed in private about his lewd comments and sexist behavior but no one was ever brave enough to complain to the senior management and HR because the management is known to ignore the complaints and many times punish the women by accidentally leaking the names of the women over private chat groups. Travis is well known to protect high performing team leaders no matter how abusive they are towards their employees. The HR team was known to be deftly afraid of Travis’s tendency to blame and ridicule the women and yell at HR whenever they went in with complaints of abuse. I heard about Travis personally congratulating Mike#2 for meeting strict deadlines months after I complained to HR about my abuse. It was clear to me that the regressive and abusive attitude towards female employees was trickling down from the top. After several months of this abuse and failed complaints to HR, I couldn’t stand it any longer. The animosity towards me got worse and in my performance reviews, it was noted that I was not a team player, not creative, directionless. There were days when I would come home from work and lie down in my bed till the alarm woke me up. I would cut my mom’s calls and reject meeting requests from friends. I would wonder why I went to grad school instead of wearing heels and marrying a rich guy so I would never have to work. It was then that I knew I had to stop this vicious environment from destroying my life. Within three days of my last performance review, I quit. I wore my New Balance sneakers to work, surrendered my employee tag, mobile phone and computer. I deleted the Uber app on my phone. Even though I don’t work at Uber any longer, the damage that was done to me by Uber’s work environment ruined my spirit. It damaged what was most precious to me : dignity and self respect. This abuse happened not because I didn’t wear heels or because I was directionless. It happened for the sole reason that I am a woman who told a man what she really thought.

And now the NY Times breaks a story about how Uber evades regulatory oversight.

Uber has for years engaged in a worldwide program to deceive authorities in markets where its low-cost ride-hailing service was being resisted by law enforcement, or in some instances, had been outright banned.

The program, which involves a tool called Greyball, uses data collected from Uber’s app and other techniques to identify and circumvent officials. Uber used these to evade authorities in cities such as Paris, Boston and Las Vegas, and in countries including Australia, China, South Korea and Italy.

Uber is unethical inside and out. I’ve never used it (not that there’s much opportunity in Morris, Minnesota) and never will.


  1. says

    The animosity towards me got worse and in my performance reviews, it was noted that I was not a team player, not creative, directionless.

    Same old story:
    Make women’s lives hell, make men’s lives heaven, then use differences in performance as absolute proof that women are just not as good as men.

  2. unclefrogy says

    it is and has always been first a scab business, organized to take advantage of lower wage employees. I am not surprised much that they are also sexist and operate internally as a hostile work environment.

    uncle frogy

  3. cedrus says

    I’ve been way off Uber since they started threatening to publish users’ travel records for political gain.

    Apparently, at a dinner party he believed was off the record, a top-level executive noted that a female journalist had published an anti-Uber story recently, suggested that she might not like the world to know where she’d been going late at night, and also that he wanted to hire people to do this kind of opposition research at scale. WHO DOES THAT.


  4. gijoel says

    I’m an ex-taxi driver and I have hated Uber from the start. There’s no real protection from clients if things turn nasty. They don’t vet their drivers for criminal history and they force the drivers to carry the capital costs for very little reward.

  5. microraptor says

    I have yet to hear anything about Uber that makes me think any good of it.

  6. robro says

    Haven’t stopped. Never started. I heard about Uber’s management right from the start, so not interested in them.

  7. numerobis says

    I think highly of the Uber app and dispatch architecture: more efficient taxi service is great.

    I despise the law breaking part that’s become its core value proposition.

  8. magistramarla says

    I know you guys don’t like the sharing economy, but I’ve had great luck with Uber’s competition, Lyft.

    I’m disabled, so I tried our city’s disabled transportation system, called Via Trans. It would take me all day to go to a one hour doctor appointment. I had to arrange for transportation at least 3 days ahead, and be outside of my house when they arrived. After an appointment, the van would often be over an hour late, but I would be passed by and be counted as a no-show if I stepped away from the pick-up point for a little shade in the miserable south Texas heat.
    One driver freaked out and refused to transport my service dog – a clear ADA infraction.
    I witnessed the drivers treating wheelchair-bound passengers and mentally disabled passengers terribly.
    The last straw was when a driver was verbally abusive to me when I refused to pray with him. He told me that I would be going to Hell with the Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. He locked the doors and refused to let me out to catch a bus or taxi. I’ve never ridden Via Trans again. I did register a complaint, but it was ignored.

    I tried using taxis, but they are expensive, often late, often dirty and I’ve found several of the drivers to be lewd and crude, not to mention reeking of cigarette smoke.

    I’ve found Lyft to be a practical and economical solution. The app is great and I’m always picked up within a few minutes of requesting a ride. I’ve never had a problem with a driver and the cars are always clean and well-maintained. I’ve been picked up by college students, soccer Moms, food-service employees supplementing their incomes, many recent immigrants, and even a few enlisted military members, since we live in a military city. When I was traveling with my dog, he was welcomed into the vehicles. Some drivers carry coolers of water bottles to give to their customers, and I’ve been treated as though I’m the driver’s mother by many. Some have even insisted on running into the building to get a wheelchair for me and took the time to wheel me into the building.

    One young man told me that he worked for both Uber and Lyft for a while. He said that Lyft requires much more rigorous screening for both the employee and his/her car, treats the employees better and encourages tipping, which Uber does not. He told me that if I was his mother, he would definitely want me riding with Lyft, not Uber. I’ve asked several women drivers about their treatment by the company, and every one has told me that she is very happy to work for them. One told me about a group of drivers and management pooling their money to help out a driver who was hospitalized.

    I can now drive myself locally, but when I need a ride and my husband is not available, I never hesitate to contact Lyft.

  9. cedrus says

    @magistramarla I’ve had great luck with Lyft also. It’s fast, reliable, and (for now) only marginally more expensive than public transit if you use their shared ride option.

    In my large city, the cabs are awful. If you call dispatch, there’s a 50-50 chance it shows up, and if it does it might take an hour. If you’re near a hotel, the only place you can realistically hail one, they’ll treat you like you have a disease unless you’re going to the airport. Last time I tried, the driver kicked me out when he realized I was going only halfway across town (a $20 fare). Also, expensive.

    Yeah, I know the “sharing economy” needs more worker protections in place, but the taxi medallion system is a rent-seeking monopoly that also generally screws its workers, so I’m not weeping for it.

    (Also, in terms of public safety, how is it not safer to get into someone’s car when there’s an app recording the transaction, as opposed to hailing some rando in a taxi? At least if my Lyft driver murders me, they can subpoena my records, find out whodunit, and probably even follow the GPS to my shallow grave in the woods.)

  10. brett says

    I used to tolerate Uber in a “useful but flawed tool” way for forcing change and reform on predatory local transportation markets plagued with stuff like exploited cab drivers, illegally discriminatory cabs, and the abominable medallion systems. But now that that’s mostly happened in the US, I’d be more than happy to see them cracked down upon hard so we can get a new set of rules and get rid of their abuse of the “independent contractor” set-up.

  11. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    I don’t use either with any regularity, but apparently I need to contact Lyft about the absolutely bullshit thing where their software won’t honor their New Customer promotion, apparently because I let my girlfriend log her (completely separate) account in on my phone two years ago, on account of which I used Their Competition the one time I ordered a ride myself…

  12. says

    Uber and Lyft are *not* part of the sharing economy. “Sharing” economy means that goods and services, responsibilities and costs are shared. Drivers do not share their vehicles, they rent them out. Riders do not share the vehicles, they rent them. Uber and Lyft are garden-variety, for-profit-by-any-means corporations. You want to ride in the sharing economy? Find an honest-to-goodness ride share service. You want to ride with a company that shares responsibilities and costs? Ride with a cooperative taxi company.

  13. PDX_Greg says

    I travel frequently for business and unit recently used Uber everywhere on my trips as ride services are much easier than renting a car and parking in big cities, and it costs our corporate clients less overall. I switched 100% to Lyft when I became aware of the Uber misogynist culture through the well-known blog post by the former Uber employee. I still think Lyft needs to treat their drivers better, but at least I haven’t heard about raging sexism in the corporate culture. Uber, I am never going back. Ever, And at least Lyft lets riders tip the drivers, which I do, generously. One thing that I have noticed is that there are many more women drivers on Lyft than on Uber, and it makes me wonder if the Uber culture somehow made it more unfriendly for women drivers even before the disgusting man culture became known publicly.

  14. Gregory Greenwood says

    I have never had any cause to use Uber, but every time I hear anything about them it just demonstrates what a bottomless cesspool of bigotry and worker exploitation the company truly is. Among all of its many, many abuses, the horrifying misogyny that infests the corporate culture at Uber stands out as the worst, and yet none of this is new or unique – Uber is simply an example of common attitudes that is a bit less covert than most and is currently under the gaze of public scrutiny. Experiences like those related in the OP are still shamefully commonplace throughout many (probably most) modern workplaces. The lack of regulation over at companies that pretend their employees are actually self employed like Uber results in more flagrant and open abuses, but the same attitudes still exist within more ordered and regulated business sectors. It is simply that the powers that be that operate there are a bit more circumspect in their sexism.

    Bringing Uber to account would be a start, but what is truly needed is a radical change in business culture and attitudes toward marginalized groups in general and women in particular, and a change on that scale is inevitably going to receive push back from established elites, and part of that push back might be allowing an obviously and irredeemably corrupt company like Uber to go down and then promptly declaring the problem resolved and the issue closed so no one looks more closely at the bigger, more powerful players. Once the leadership at Uber gets what they so richly deserve, that is the moment when efforts will be made to sweep this issue under the rug, and that is when the momentum will have to be maintained if longer term change is going to be achieved.