A new report by BuzzFeed News features the stories of anonymous current and former Uber employees who described the grueling work conditions at the company. These employees described a culture where they worked full-time on weekends, were expected to be always on call, and lived in fear of being called out by management for underperforming. “There was a three- to four-month period where I was getting woken up every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 or 4 in the morning to fix something,” an engineer told BuzzFeed News. “Months of that, on top of working 10-plus hours a day.”
According to BuzzFeed, employees endured bad conditions because they felt like their Uber equity was on the line. “The equity, people see that as their future, their retirement, the reason they moved to America, or why they moved halfway across the country, or across the country,” one former employee said.
On top of this toxic work culture, Uber has been embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal which resulted in at least 20 fired employees, departing executives, and an internal investigation led by former attorney General Eric Holder and board member Arianna Huffington.
It’s a culture that was created and fostered by the company’s founder and recently ousted CEO Travis Kalanick. Former Uber employees I’ve spoken to have echoed what is described in the BuzzFeed report, that the company culture revolves around Kalanick (internally referred to as “TK”), and that his firing won’t fix the company's problems anytime soon. “Travis can’t hire Eric Holder or Arianna Huffington and change the culture of a 10,000-person company,” one former senior employee told BuzzFeed.