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Uber fires 20 employees in harassment investigation

The company has investigated more than 200 claims of harassment, discrimination and other matters.

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A separate sexual harassment probe at the company is being led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder.

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Uber confirmed Tuesday that it's fired more than 20 employees after an investigation into sexual harassment allegations. The ride-hailing company put a further 31 people in counseling or training and gave written warnings to seven others.

The investigation was conducted by the law firm Perkins Coie -- which looked into 215 reported incidents of sexual harassment, discrimination, unprofessional behavior, bullying, harassment, retaliation and physical security -- in the company's 12,000-strong workforce. 

Uber said the majority of these incidents were reported by employees in its San Francisco headquarters. The company declined to reveal the names of the employees who were fired. 

The firings were first reported by Bloomberg, which said of the 215 claims, 100 have been dismissed and 57 are still under investigation. Uber said those 57 claims still under investigation are the most recently reported incidents and the 20 terminations weren't all related to sexual harassment. 

A spokesperson for Perkins Coie wouldn't confirm the details of the firm's investigation.

separate sexual harassment probe at the company is being led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder. Results from that investigation are expected to come in the form of recommendations from Holder and will likely be released next week.

The two investigations come after former Uber employee Susan Fowler wrote a blog post in February detailing allegations of sexual harassment, sexism and unprofessional business practices at the company. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick immediately apologized and promised to conduct an internal investigation into the matter. 

Since then, the ride-hailing company has been mired in a litany of scandals and has lost nearly a dozen high-level executives, including its President Jeff Jones, President of Engineering Amit Singhal, head of finance Gautam Gupta and the head of its self-driving car program Anthony Levandowski.

Uber confirmed it's hired two new senior female executives this week. One is former Apple exec Bozoma Saint John, who will now be Uber's chief brand officer. The other is Harvard Business School Professor Frances Frei, who will be the company's senior vice president for leadership and strategy and will train all managers.

Uber said the investigation into workplace behavior and subsequent firings weren't a one-time activity and it will continue to address claims as they are raised. The company said it has created a system to log and track all complaints so nothing slips through the cracks.

First published June 6, 12:27 p.m. PT.
Update, 2:19 p.m.: Adds background information.

Update, 3:58 p.m.: Adds confirmation from Uber and more background information.

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