Uber HR Head Disgraced Following Discrimination Complaints Against Black Execs

Employees claim Hornsey ‘systematically dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination.’

The head of HR at ride-sharing app Uber, Liane Hornsey, has resigned following discrimination complaints against black executives, The Root reports.

Hornsey was one of the top spokespeople at Uber on diversity and discrimination issues and allegedly ignored grievances that were brought to her.

A group who referred to themselves as “Uber employees of color” say that Hornsey “systematically dismissed internal complaints of racial discrimination.” She is also accused of making racist comments about black Uber executive Bernard Coleman and former executive Bozoma Saint John.

Saint John has yet to comment on Uber or the reasons behind his departure in June.

An email from an anonymous employee cited Hornsey as the “person ultimately behind (Saint John’s) departure from Uber.”

A year ago, Uber was accused of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, which triggered a U.S. Justice Department investigation and forced then CEO Travis Kalanick to resign. The company paid $10 million in March to resolve a class-action lawsuit that accused Uber of discrimination against over 400 women and people of color.

According to Insider, chief operating officer Barney Harford is “embarrassed” by revelations that he has made inappropriate comments about race and gender. Harford came on at Uber following Kalanick’s departure.

One instance mentioned by employees was an insensitive comment made during a conference call about an interracial couple used in an Uber ad. He allegedly expressed concerns that the people being targeted to use the app would be confused.

Harford apologized for his comments to staff in an email memo, writing, “In the course of conversations with some of you, I have been embarrassed to learn that at times I made comments that made people feel uncomfortable, isolated, or unwelcome. Certainly that was not my intent, but I make no excuses for my behavior. To those of you I hurt with careless words, I’m sorry.”

He added, “I will seek out opportunities to build the best, highest performing, and most diverse business leadership team.”

Harford has vowed to remain with Uber and promised to examine his “blind spots” in regard to race and gender. He was originally hired to help ease the discrimination and sexual harassment that reportedly ran rampant at the company under original head exec Kalanick. The New York Times reports that Harford has been meeting with the chief diversity officer at Uber frequently to change his views.

The exec further describes being “humbled” and “grateful” for the feedback he has received during this process.

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