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Uber At The Centre Of Gender, Racial, Pay Inequity Allegations


It’s no longer news that gender and racial marginalization exists in workplaces. What appears to be worse than both combined is unfairness in a pay-system. Uber has been entangled in a legal battle staged by a couple of ‘coloured’ employees; and just recently, three Latina engineers have sued the company for racial and gender injustice which has resulted in them being underpaid.

This filed suit, claims that the firm has violated the Equal Pay Act. The three women involved are doing so on behalf of other employees who have a similar grievance, under a state law called the Private Attorneys General Act. Under this law, the state is entitled to 75% of any civil penalties and relief, while the aggrieved employees are to receive 25%.

The three women expressed their displeasure at the pay-system because their counterparts who are either white or Asian males were duly paid. Two of the women, Ingrid Avendano and Roxana del Toro Lopez have left the firm while the third, Ana Medina is still an employee.

Another grievance is the long-aged stack-ranking system used by the firm to evaluate employees. Due to their race and gender, however, they are always disadvantaged. Stack-ranking is the most notorious of systems used by employers to evaluate employees for performance appraisals. Although the idea is to perform those who are performing well and motivate those who are lagging behind or less productive, what exactly are the determining factors? Here’s what the suit says:

In this system, female employees and employees of colour are systematically undervalued because they receive, on average, lower rankings despite equal or better performance.’

These stack rankings are the factors used to determine promotions- race and gender, which make them disadvantaged, regardless.  Also, Uber bases employee pay on past compensation, which apparently affects their earnings. As a result, the women are at a huge loss on all sides including other financial benefits and incentives.

Uber has been engulfed in a series of crises this year, one which included sexual misconduct allegations from an engineer sometime in April. In fact, the departure of Travis Kalanick, co-founder, and CEO of the transport company came after a month of the long investigation which fed into the work culture at the time. In July, the company decided to compensate every employee without prejudice, based on their location and job functions.

In all, it’s been a rocky year for the transport firm. We would update the site as the drama unfolds.

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