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At Uber, dinner is being served earlier now

Former AG Eric Holder’s recommendations for the company include earlier catered dinners, no romantic trysts with bosses, and rules around alcohol and drugs.

Pecan Pie from Pie Sisters for our holiday pie review in Washington, DC.

Don't know what Uber is serving at those catered dinners. Should it be a slice of humble pie?

Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Uber holds its catered dinner for employees at 8:15 p.m., Monday through Friday.

That's changing. Now food will be served at 7 p.m.

The ride-hailing company is in the midst of a major shakeup after months of revelations and scandals have led to two extensive investigations, a handful of lawsuits and some time off for its CEO Travis Kalanick.

Changing the time of its nightly catered dinner is just one of 47 recommendations to come out of a months-long investigation by former US Attorney General Eric Holder. His 13-page report, which was released to the public on Tuesday, looked into systemic discrimination, harassment and retaliation at the San Francisco-based company.

For the inquiry, Holder's team conducted more than 200 interviews with current and former employees and read through 3 million documents. It also held focus groups with the staff about perceptions of Uber's workplace culture.

Uber's board unanimously voted on Sunday to adopt all of the recommendations.

Holder's report has much of what you'd expect, including leadership coaching for senior management, establishing a better complaint process, recruiting from a more diverse talent pool and soliciting anonymous feedback from employees.

But some recommendations are a little more interesting -- especially if you read between the lines.

Take the recommendation on "romantic or intimate relationships." Holder's report advises the company to make clear that any type of relationship between a subordinate and boss should be prohibited.

Or the guidelines on alcohol and drug consumption. The report recommends Uber create rules around the acceptable and unacceptable use of alcohol and should "strictly prohibit the use of controlled substances." The use of alcohol during "core work hours" should also be prohibited.

Holder additionally recommends that Uber "reformulate" its 14 cultural values. Up until now, when new hires joined the company, they were asked to subscribe to a unique set of "values." These included meritocracy, toe-stepping, principled confrontation and "always be hustlin'."

Holder wrote in his report that Uber should "reformulate its written cultural values because it is vital that they reflect more inclusive and positive behaviors."

The board's decision to accept all of these recommendations shows it appears to be serious about changing Uber, which has a market value of $68 billion and is often talked about as one of the most promising startups yet to go public.

But even the board has its work cut out for it.

On Tuesday, after Kalanick announced he was taking a leave of absence, board member Arianna Huffington spoke to employees during an all-hands meeting and shared Holder's recommendations. According to leaked audio of the meeting obtained by Yahoo News, she said, "There's a lot of data that shows when there's one woman on the board, it's much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board."

David Bonderman, another Uber board member, responded, "Actually what it shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking." 

Twitter had fun with that exchange.

Bonderman resigned later that same day, Uber confirmed.

As for that catered dinner? An earlier time accommodates a "broader group of employees," Holder wrote, "including employees who have spouses or families waiting for them at home, and that signals an earlier end to the work day."

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