Uber fires top executive over handling of rape investigation in India

Press Trust of India New York | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 08, 2017


Cab aggregator Uber has fired a top executive who allegedly obtained medical records of a 26-year-old woman raped by an Uber driver in India in 2014, according to a media report.

Eric Alexander, President of Business in Asia-Pacific, was fired on Tuesday, just as the company announced that it had fired 20 employees over the last few months for harassment, discrimination and inappropriate behaviour.

Alexander had obtained the medical records of the woman, who was raped and assaulted by Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav in New Delhi in December 2014, said a report in technology news website Recode.

The report quoted sources as saying that Alexander showed the medical records to “Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Senior Vice-President Emil Michael”.

The website said that while the company was publicly apologetic, “some top executives apparently had trouble believing that the incident was entirely true”, including Alexander, who was already in India at that time and investigated the claims.

Alexander then brought the files to Kalanick and Michael, who read them, the report said, adding that soon all three began to consider the prospect whether Uber’s main Indian rival, Ola, was behind the incident, to sabotage the company.

Further, numerous executives at the car-hailing company were either told about the records or shown them by this group. Sources said Alexander carried around the document for “about a year” before other executives, “presumably the legal department, obtained the report and destroyed his copy”.

The news report said Alexander was not among the 20 people fired by Uber as part of an internal investigation into its workplace culture after employees made allegations of sexual harassment and toxic work environment.

Alexander’s handling of the situation was among the over 200 claims reported to two law firms which were conducting investigations into widespread management issues at the company, the report said.

When the news website contacted the company about Alexander’s actions, it was told that he was no longer employed there. It quoted an Uber spokesperson as saying that Alexander was no longer with the company. The 2014 incident had triggered the Centre’s scrutiny into Uber, and the company was banned from operating in Delhi till June 2015. In 2015, a Delhi court sentenced Yadav to life imprisonment.

Though Kalanick, Michael and Alexander haves no medical training, they questioned the incident based on the medical report, the report said.

At the time, Kalanick had condemned the New Delhi incident.

Asia-Pacific Business President Eric Alexander, CEO Travis Kalanick and Senior Vice-President Emil Michael had considered the prospect whether rival Ola was behind the incident, to sabotage the company

Published on June 08, 2017
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