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Essay: Uber and ethical behaviour

Essay details:

  • Subject area(s): Business essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: September 21, 2019*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 995 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)
  • Uber and ethical behaviour
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Uber is the leading ride-sharing app in the world, but with that, Uber has had its fair share of scandals over the last few years. Travis Kalanick, the former CEO of Uber, has a list of unethical behavior along with other employees in the corporate environment. The company has been faced with allegations of sexual harassment, sexism, immoral leadership and it’s drivers having these same allegations.

There have been countless reports from corporate employees that they are being sexually harassed in the workplace. After reporting what took place, no other steps were taken to resolve the issue. Susan Fowler, a former engineer at Uber, was the first to reveal she experienced unethical behavior from coworkers. Since her many attempts to go to her Human Resources department for a solution did not work, she resorted to a blog post stating she was being pressured by a manager to have sex with him. This ignited the “#deleteUber” movement. Many users with the app deleted it and refused to use Uber. Nonetheless, the Human Resources department refused to reprimand the manager because he performed well within the company. After hearing she went to HR, her manager threatened to fire her; this is illegal and unethical. A manager can’t terminate an employee because they’ve filed a complaint with HR. After Fowler went public with her sexual harassment experience within the company, more allegations surfaced. Allegedly, at a retreat for Uber employees, there was drugs and allegations of an employee groping his female coworkers. Sexual harassment is illegal, immoral and unethical so it does not belong in the workplace.

Along with sexual harassment in the workplace, Uber drivers have also had these accusations. This brings up the topic of slack background checks at Uber. Uber has had 103 reports of sexual assault and abuse by its drivers, yet the drivers pass the background check for the company. Any employee that is accused of sexual misconduct and breaking the law should be released from their job. This is unethical behavior and reflects very poorly on the entire company.

Sexism has been a large topic at Uber as well. The reports of sexism the United aren’t just happening within the United States, they’re in other countries as well. In France, there was an advertisement by Uber with a partnership with an app called Avions de chasse. Avions de chases is an app that enables users to receive photos of attractive women. The ad contained women in lingerie and promises Uber riders that they will be driven around by models for a maximum of twenty minutes. Uber has already had other advertisements being perceived as sexist, such as the UberEats “nocookingday” promo code to “let your wife have a day off from the kitchen.”, so to continue letting these advertisements air on television and be posted the internet makes one question the leaders of the company. Sexism is unethical and sheds a poor light on a business or company. Having a reputation that possesses this type of behavior can cause irrefutable damage and lead to its downfall altogether.

CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, has unethical behavior rampant throughout his time as CEO. From having an outing with staff to a karaoke bar with an escort service to verbally abusing an Uber driver he rode with, Travis Kalanick has many qualities of an immoral and unethical leader. He is known for being sexist after his remark during an interview stating an on-demand service of women called “Boob-er.” Kalanick has surrounded himself with coworkers with sexual harassment allegations, but did not release them from their positions within the company. This shows he doesn’t view their actions as wrong. Drivers who have been accused of the same thing are defended by him and blame is deflected away from the person accused to the accuser. There were 215 complaints investigated at HR for sexual harassment, but only 20 employees accused lost their jobs. Unethical behavior started at the top with the former CEO and seemed to trickle down the hierarchy. This goes to show even if it’s known that there is one spoiled apple, the others aren’t easy to detect and remove. Allowing this type of behavior to continue, as a leader, portrays to employees that it is acceptable to act in an ethical manner with no consequences.

Because of his poor leadership choices and unethical image the company has in the media, it has cost the business to be banned in London. London described Uber as having a “lack of corporate responsibility” and Uber lost its contract altogether. While the corporate environment has a history of unethical behavior, the drivers that work for Uber have some unethical qualities as well. With all of the negativity surrounding the company, Kalanick didn’t make any effort to repair Uber’s image. Even though he has stepped down from his role as CEO, the damage is done to the company’s reputation.

After Travis Kalanick’s actions and those of Uber’s employees, it will be difficult to repair the unethical image of Uber. There should be ethics classes given to all employees that want to have a future in Uber to ensure there are no more instances of unethical, immoral, and illegal behavior. There should also an updated code of ethics stating consequences that will be given to those who choose to partake in these behaviors. Any employee accused of acting unethically should be investigated and a protocol followed, not dismissed like past occurrences. While Travis Kalanick can’t be held responsible for each and every unethical action of Uber employees, he can be held responsible for knowing what was happening within the company and not doing anything to enforce ethical behavior by his employees.

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