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Is HR really looking out for you?

As an employee, you depend upon your HR department to protect you in the event that you encounter challenges in the workplace. When you reach out to them for assistance, you trust that they will take action to address the problems and ensure that they do not happen again. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

A recent blog posting by a former Uber engineer has raised new concerns about the role that HR plays in some organizations. In the post, the author discusses many adverse incidents that happened to her while she was working for the company. On her first day as part of a new team, her manager made sexual advances toward her, which she reported to her HR department.

When HR reviewed the incident, it stated that this was the first time these sorts of allegations had been made against this manager. They were reluctant to discipline the individual, because he had been such a high performer for the team.

The employee was then put into a no-win situation: she could stay on the team, and have constant interactions with the manager, or move to a different team and basically start over. If she stayed, the manager would probably give her a poor performance review, and HR said there was nothing they could do about that. She decided to take on a new role in the company.

Over time, the woman met others at Uber who had raised similar concerns about the manager's improper behavior. Each woman who reported the man received the same response: this was a first offense and HR didn't want to ruin the man's career over these allegations.

In the months that followed, there were several more incidents that the woman reported to HR. The HR reps seemingly tried to blame her for the offenses in question, saying that she was the common factor in all of the problems. She was threatened with termination for making reports to HR, and this led to her finding employment outside of the company. The attention that the post has received has resulted in Uber hiring former attorney general Eric Holder to conduct an investigation.

As the post demonstrates, it can be extremely hard to work in an environment when HR refuses to protect your rights. Companies that engage in these kinds of behaviors need to be held responsible for their acts.

Standing up against your employer or HR team is hard, but you do not need to do this on your own. An experienced employment law attorney will make sure that your concerns are taken seriously. An attorney can review the facts of your case and explain the options that may be available to you. 

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