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Uber HR Head Resigns Over Her Handling of Discrimination Complaints; Allegedly Disparaged Black Execs

Illustration for article titled Uber HR Head Resigns Over Her Handling of Discrimination Complaints; Allegedly Disparaged Black Execsem/em
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

I guess Uber’s “chief people officer” was not here for all of the people.

On Tuesday, Liane Hornsey, who was, for all intents and purposes, the head of the ride-share company’s human resources department (and one of the firm’s top spokespeople on diversity and discrimination issues)—resigned after a news agency contacted the company about an unreported investigation into how she ignored allegations of racial discrimination at the ever-embattled billion dollar company.

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According to Reuters, an anonymous group of employees (i.e., whistleblowers), calling themselves “Uber employees of color”—alleged that Hornsey “systematically dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination,” and also made derogatory comments about two black Uber executives — Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Bernard Coleman and former Uber executive Bozoma Saint John, who left the company in June.

“This person ultimately was the reason behind (Saint John’s) departure from Uber,” the anonymous employees said in an email, referring to Hornsey.

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Saint John joined Uber from Apple in June 2017 but left after a year to join the Endeavor agency, told Reuters by phone: “I don’t have anything to say about my experience there.”

Some of the allegations were substantiated, investigators from law firm Gibson Dunn told the employees in a May 15 email that was seen by Reuters.

The complaints against Hornsey come about a year after Uber was embroiled in widespread allegations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment, triggering an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department (under Eric Holder) and ultimately forcing founder Travis Kalanick’s resignation.

In March, the company agreed to pay $10 million to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination against more than 400 women and non-white people brought by three women engineers.

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Hornsey gave no reason for her resignation and has not responded to requests for comments about the investigation.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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