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Mace & Crown | March 23, 2017

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Uber: Too Popular Too Fast?

Uber: Too Popular Too Fast?

[Image from businessofapps.com]

Brooke Nicholson
Contributing Writer

Uber, the app that absolutely revolutionized the way everyday people hail a quick ride faster than ever, has been crowned as the most profitable startup in the modern world. What seemed as an advancement in both technological software and service, Uber Technologies Inc. has seen its company take a few blows recently towards its popular app since its launch in 2011.

Uber saw its first wave of criticism starting back in 2014, when countries all around the world such as France, Madrid and the U.K. began protesting the popular taxi service alleging that it was unfair competition, with no regards concerning the same safety laws other transportation services must follow. Within the same year, Uber began receiving multiple lawsuits from various taxi and cab companies claiming that Uber was slowly ruining businesses. Since then, Uber has taken on multiple issues regarding taking services from delivery businesses, scrutiny for not accepting blind passengers and complaints from the Uber drivers themselves. Uber has since been accused of using stolen technology and sued by one of its biggest investors. But it wasn’t until January 2017 that the Uber company suffered its biggest blow yet.

News story after news story began pouring in about a few passengers who claimed that some Uber drivers were picking up women and sexually assaulting them. The most recent case of an Uber driver sexually assaulting a passenger came on March 7, when a Virginia Beach native proceeded to pick up a female from the Bay Colony area and  sexually assaulted her. Since then, employees who were a part of Uber Technologies Inc. have come forward with the claims of sexual assault and harassment by managers within the company itself. Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer, has since quit her position at the company because of the workplace behavior and sexual assault she endured. Investigations into the report stated that she was sexually assaulted by a manager, was ignored by the Human Resources department, and was then told that she would be fired for reporting the accusations.

A week after, another major executive of the company, Ed Baker, VP of Product and Growth, resigned with no known reason or comment after working at Uber for three years, Business Insider reported. The hashtag #DeleteUber began trending on Twitter in protest of these allegations and trying to steer people away from using the Uber app and cutting ties with the taxi service altogether.

After its string of scandals and problems within the company, employees at Uber are feeling the pressure and facing a major decision about whether or not they should quit working for the company. Employees are reportedly talking with other rival firms and companies before deciding to collect their bonuses and quitting the company. The sudden decision in changing careers for many Uber employees comes from claims of awful workplace behavior, harassment amongst employees and terrible senior leadership from CEO Travis Kalanick. After a video was released about Kalanick allegedly arguing with an Uber driver about the declining rate of pay, he later issued a comment saying that he “must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up.”

After hundreds of issues, allegations, and lawsuits against the company, leaving a company now valued at $69 billion, is a big decision for current Uber employees to make. Uber’s CEO needs to plan to make some major changes within the company and the state it operates in order to keep the company running. Uber is currently looking to hire new management, Sheryl Sandberg, one of the top female leaders in technology at the moment, who some say is the only person who can help rescue Uber’s slow decline.