This public-sourced case is based on a 2017 blog post by a former Uber employee, Susan Fowler, in which she was brutally honest about the sexual harassment, the sexism, the bro culture, and the failures of HR and in senior management at the ride-share company. All thoughts by and conversations between the characters in this case are entirely fictional, but the events described are drawn from Fowler's post, which went viral within hours of her posting it. Fowler was forced to disable the comment section because there were too many, positive and negative, to keep up with. The accusations hit Uber's management like an earthquake, and the press covered every development.
Students are placed directly in the case as Uber's recently hired CHR, within days of a company-wide meeting to discuss the post. They will be expected to sit side-by-side with Ariana Huffington—founder of the Huffington Post and the only woman on Uber's board—and with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The meeting was billed as "self-reflective," as being about "clearing the air" and "being honest."
This fictional narrative based on a real-life experience offers the opportunity to discuss organizational culture, gender, power, leadership, and difficult conversations with superiors.