Throughout the last few weeks, we’ve seen enormous changes in Uber’s executive board, most notably CEO Travis Kalanick’s resignation after he faced pressure from the corporation’s stakeholders. The Uber company culture perpetuated by higher-ups is not confined to the corporate-level, however. It trickles down and damages riders and drivers, too.
Major Issues with Uber Company Culture
Disregard for Others
First and foremost, Uber executives have spent millions of dollars to oppose a standard safety practice in the ground transportation industry: governmental, fingerprint-based background checks. This has resulted in an uncomfortably large number of passengers being assaulted, sexually assaulted, kidnapped and even killed.
More recently, an Uber executive was fired for obtaining confidential records pertaining to the rape of a woman in India by an Uber driver. The point of his retrieval of the records was to debunk whether or not the case was fabricated. Uber company culture has led to executives essentially accusing passengers of lying in order to deflect bad press. Let’s not pretend they even remotely care about public safety.
A lawsuit filed by former Uber forensic investigator Ward Spangenberg against the company contains claims that employees had accessed data to track their ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends and celebrities like Beyoncé.
That may not seem like much of an issue to you personally on the surface, but consider that Uber records over 500 pieces of personal information of each one of their customers. They’re able to track your location before, during and after your rides, with terrifying accuracy.
Obstruction of the Law
There have been cases of Uber using a software known as Greyball to deceive authorities in areas where the company was not legally allowed to operate.
Greyball showed city officials and law enforcement officers altered versions of the Uber app, displaying cars that didn’t actually exist. When regulators tried to order Uber cars to prove their illegal operation, they weren’t able to do so.
Failure to Act
Who’s Driving You, a public awareness campaign that promotes for-hire vehicle safety, aptly points out that Uber typically responds to sexual assaults of passengers by drivers as “deeply disturbing” or “deeply troubling” rather than taking action.
And we agree. Sexual assaults are deeply, deeply disturbing, especially when they can be prevented by keeping unfit drivers away from the riding public with a standard, fingerprint-based background check. But, Uber’s utter failure to keep passengers safe despite all of the sexual assaults that have taken place is just as disturbing.
Clearly, Uber company culture has real-world effects that everyone should be aware of, especially as ride-hailing is legalized in more places.