Earlier this week, at a staff meeting in San Francisco, Uber executives revealed to the companys 12,000 employees that20 of their colleagueshad been fired over harassment, discrimination and inappropriate behavior, following a string ofaccusationsthat Uber had created a toxic workplace and allowed complaints to go unaddressed for years.
Those complaints had pushed Uber into crisis mode earlier this year. But the calamity may be just beginning.
Indeed, if Uber executives were hesitant to part ways with particular employees for fear of recrimination, its suddenly easy to see why. Since announcing those firings on Monday, which reportedly included senior executives, Uber which has long operated like an impenetrable fortress has begun springing leaks right and left.
The question is whether the stories coming to light now are the most damning of the bunch, or leakers are starting in the opposite order, building toward a kind of crescendo that could finally lead to the ousting of CEO and cofounder Travis Kalanick.
Certainly, things are looking abruptly worse for him.
Yesterday,Uber fired senior executive Eric Alexander after it was leaked to Recode that Alexander had obtained the medical records of an Uber passenger who was raped in 2014 by her driver in India.
Recode also reported that Alexander had shared the womans file with Kalanick and his senior vice president, Emil Michael, and that the three men suspected the woman of working with Ubers regional competitor in India, Ola, to hamper its chances of success there.
Uber eventually settled a lawsuit brought by the woman against the company. But that Alexander wasnt among those employees fired earlier in the week Uber terminated him only after Recode published its story only created more questions about Kalanicks judgment, as well as served to undermine the companys broader harassment probe.
Yet that development has already been pushed aside by another. A couple of hours ago, Recode was provided witha 2013 email written by Kalanick wasthat appears to showcase even worse judgment on his part.
Originally crafted by Kalanick when Uber had just 400 employees, the email is an obvious attempt by Kalanick to bond with employees who were preparing to celebrate an important milestone for the company entering into its 50th city, Miami. Yet the language he uses is enough to make the most libertine lawyer lightheaded.
Among the donts that Kalanick outlines in his company-wide missive about a party about to take place: Do not throw large kegs off of tall buildings. Please talk to Ryan McKillen and Amos Barreto for specific insights on this topic. Also, Do not have sex with another employee UNLESS a) you have asked that person for that privilege and they have responded with an emphatic YES! I will have sex with you AND b) the two (or more) of you do not work in the same chain of command. Yes, that means that Travis will be celibate on this trip. #CEOLife #FML.
His fifth point: Drugs and narcotics will not be tolerated unless you have the appropriate medicinal licensing.
Likely, putting a spin on the concerns of Ubers attorneys seemed funny to Kalanick and some of Ubers employees at the time. Now, some of those once-loyal employees now exiled from the company seem determined to have the last laugh.
Kalanick and his closest advisors must be wondering how much ammunition they have toward that end. Then again, they might know exactly whats coming. Stay tuned.