Uber’s SVP of Engineering Amit Singhal has stepped down today after the company learned that during his tenure at Google, he was accused of sexual harassment and failed to disclose it at the time he was hired. The allegation against Singhal was brought to the attention of Uber by a report from Recode's Kara Swisher. A source from inside Uber that is close to the situation said that an extensive background check was run, but nothing about the incident was uncovered. However, it’s unlikely any allegation of this kind would be revealed since there were no charges and it was handled internally. The same source said that Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, asked Singhal to resign immediately.
The allegations were first brought to the attention of Google in 2015 by a female employee who didn’t work for Singhal, but did work close with his search team. He has denied that there is anything to the accusation and said there are two sides to every story. His representatives have said that Singhal doesn’t believe harassment is acceptable and it doesn't have a place in any setting. He also stated that the decision to leave Google was his own. In February of 2016 Google allowed him to leave after 15 years of service as SVP of Engineering before the company took any action against him. Before this, he was by all accounts, a top notch employee and had a distinguished career.
It is unfortunate that these allegations came to light for Uber as it has recently had to manage through a rough patch as of late. A blog post from Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer, prompted an internal investigation after claiming her manager sent her messages wanting to start a sexual relationship with her. She also claimed she later learned this same man did the same to other women in the company. This is likely the reason that Uber would have wanted him to step down so quickly. It should also be noted that Google's current lawsuit against Uber about claims of one of their employees stealing major aspects of their self-driving technology has nothing to do with each other. Both Uber and Google have declined to comment.