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Uber forced to pay $4.4 million over sexual harassment

Uber recently has agreed to pay a $4.4 million settlement over numerous sexual discrimination charges against the company. The settlement was the result of an investigation by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Where settlement funds will go

The settlement funds will go to female employees who worked at Uber from January 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019, and experienced sexual harassment or retaliation.

The settlement also will go toward strengthening Uber's business culture against sexual harassment and retaliation. As part of that effort, the San Francisco-based company will create a system to identify when management fails to address reported sexual harassment.

What led to the investigation

The federal probe of Uber's sexual discrimination problems began in 2017. The public became more aware of Uber's widespread sexual harassment issues in 2018. That's when founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned because of sexism and harassment claims.

Eventually, after an investigation of 2,000 sexual harassment complaints, 20 other Uber employees were fired over sexual harassment allegations.

Broader implications of the scandal

The scandal also brought attention to the way many women working in technology or engineering fields feel. They say they continue to face discrimination and sexual harassment because they work in male-dominated fields.

During the #Metoo movement, several women who had worked for Silicon Valley companies came forward to share their harassment experiences. This month, Uber engineer Susan Fowler will release her book. It details her role in revealing Uber's culture of sexual harassment.

Many other tech companies face the same challenge Uber does: how to reduce sexual harassment in a male-dominated workplace. Many want to make their workplaces more welcoming to women. Uber also will need to address the fact a reported 3,000 sexual assaults occurred during its ride-shares in 2018.

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