Uber fires Amit Singhal over sexual harassment allegation

Amit Singhal (Courtesy of Youtube)

Unceremonious exit of the former Google VP comes just a month after he joined Uber.

The newly hired senior vice president of engineering at Uber, Amit Singhal, had an unceremonious exit from taxi aggregator after he allegedly failed to disclose a sexual harassment claim from his previous job in Google.

The ousting of Singhal comes just a week after one of Uber’s female employees complained that the company failed to address a sexual harassment case filed by her.

Singhal joined Uber last month after a 15-year stint with Google.

Singhal was asked to resign verbally Monday by CEO Travis Kalanick, to whom he was reporting, a representative told The American Bazaar. It has been learned that the decision to fire Singhal was taken after the board found that he didn’t state the true reason for his departure from Google, which is now understood to be the sexual harassment allegation.

According to reports, the incident that led to Singhal leaving Google happened in 2015, when he was the senior VP of the search engine giant. An internal inquiry set up to investigate the claim reportedly found evidence against Singhal. He resigned on his own in February 2016.

The farewell letter of Singhal had no mention about the alleged sexual harassment case. Instead, it said he wanted to devote time to philanthropy.

“Harassment is unacceptable in any setting,” Singhal said in a statement Monday. “I certainly want everyone to know that I do not condone and have not committed such behavior. In my 20-year career, I’ve never been accused of anything like this before, and the decision to leave Google was my own.”

In the meanwhile, supporters of Singhal claim that he was made a scapegoat. Vivek Wadhwa, an Indian American technology entrepreneur and academic, said he had warned Singhal against joining Uber, which according to him is “rotten to the core”.

Wadhwa tweeted, “Sad to see my friend @theamitsinghal being thrown under the bus by Uber. Warned him he was working for a company rotten to the core.”

He also wrote, “The rot at Uber starts at the top–with the CEO himself. Singhal is just being made a scapegoat to deflect attention.”

The exit of Singhal comes at a time when the taxi aggregator is embroiled in a controversy of overlooking a sexual harassment case registered by one of its employees.

According to the New York Times, Uber has ignored the repeated request to take up harassment claims.

After the incessant complaint from employees, investors Mitch Kapor and Freeada Kapor wrote an open letter to the company questioning the insensitive way of handling such cases, after which, the company asked Eric H. Holder Jr. to investigate the claims of its employees.

Holder, who is a former attorney general under President Obama, was joined by the media mogul Arianna Huffington, a member of Uber’s board of directors, and Tammy Albarran, a partner at Holder’s law firm, Covington and Burling for conducting a detailed investigation.

(Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Singhal received a termination letter.)

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