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Uber probe of cut-throat workplace triggers firings

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Uber said on Tuesday that an internal investigation into workplace misdeeds has resulted in 20 people being fired.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Uber said on Tuesday that an internal investigation into workplace misdeeds has resulted in 20 people being fired.

The on-demand ride service said the terminations came as it looked into a total of 215 claims of discrimination, harassment, unprofessional behaviour, bullying, retaliation and "physical security."

The majority of the complaints were from workers in San Francisco, where Uber is based.

Uber has seen a shake-out in its executive ranks as it works through a series of scandals that included disclosures about a culture of sexism, cut-throat workplace tactics, and covert use of law enforcement-evading software.

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It was likely that some departures of Uber executives were related to investigated complaints, but the company offered no details.

"All reported incidents to date have been investigated, and where they were corroborated we have taken swift, decisive action on the findings," Uber said in an email statement.

"We have been doing this consistently and with rigour for the past few months and will continue to do so as issues are raised."

Uber is strengthening its human resources staff and processes, and recommendations for changes based on the internal investigation were to be released next week.

Uber chief Travis Kalanick has been working to steer the scandal-tainted on-demand ride service on a friendlier course with workers, riders and drivers.

"Going forward, there can be no room at Uber for brilliant jerks and zero tolerance for anything but totally respectable behaviour in an equitable workplace environment," board member Arianna Huffington said earlier this year while discussing efforts at the company.

The privately-held firm is valued at about US$68 billion, making it the largest ventured-backed "unicorn" in the tech world, having expanded to dozens of countries even as it battles regulators and established taxi operators.

AFP

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