Another day, another Uber scandal Article icon


If you're having a bad day in the office, troubled by pesky journalists or a CEO who won't take any advice, just be thankful you're not working for Uber. Every month this year has brought a new flurry of scandals for its communications teams to deal with. Here are just a few...

9 June

Uber is accused of using a gap in EU and UK tax rules to avoid incurring sales tax on the booking fees it charges drivers in the UK. The car company treats each of its 40,000 drivers as separate businesses, each too small to register for VAT. Paying this levy would cost Uber about £1,000 per driver - or £40 million a year.

8 June

A top Uber executive is fired after obtaining the medical records of a woman who was raped by a driver in India. Eric Alexander, who ran Uber's Asian operations, was looking for evidence to disprove the woman's claim. He shared the records with chief executive Travis Kalanick and other senior executives. The event happened three years ago - Uber settled with the female passenger and the driver was convicted - but Alexander was only fired this week after the story was uncovered by news website Recode.

6 June 

Twenty workers are fired after an independent investigation into 215 complaints alleging sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination.

4 June

Uber is castigated for introducing surge pricing as Londoners try to return home after the tragedy of the terrorist attack. Uber apologises and vows to cancel charges for those who booked cars in the immediate vicinity of London Bridge.

30 May 

Uber fires the head of its self-driving car division Anthony Levandowski after he is accused by former boss Google of stealing trade secrets. His termination letter accuses Levandowski of impeding Uber's 'internal investigation'.

24 April

It emerges that Uber secretly tagged users' phones even after they deleted its app. The revelation led to a showdown between Apple's chief executive Tim Cook and Kalanick, where he threatened to kick the Uber app out of the App Store and, effectively, off iPhones. 

12 April

Uber's head of public policy and communications Rachel Whetstone quits after less than two years in the job.

19 March

Uber's president Jeff Jones resigns after six months. In a statement, Jones said that 'the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber'.

3 March

The New York Times claims Uber has a secret global programme called Greyball which allows it to hide from government employees looking to catch the company operating in violation of local regulations.

28 February

Bloomberg shares a video of Kalanick verbally attacking an Uber driver who berated him for slashing fares, saying he had lost $100,000 as a result. 'Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit,' shouted Kalanick as he left the cab. The driver gave him a one star rating. (Kalanick later issues a 'profound apology' and says he will seek 'leadership help'.

27 February

Uber's SVP of engineering Amit Singhal is asked to resign after it emerged he had left his former employer Google a year earlier after allegations of sexual harassment that the company had found to be 'credible'.

23 February

Google's self driving group Waymo sues Uber for intellectual property theft, claiming it is using stolen technology to develop its own driverless cars. Waymo says former employees, who set up Otto, focusing on driverless trucks which was acquired by Uber for an estimated $600,000, downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files six weeks before they resigned. 

22 February

The New York Times publishes an article describing Uber's workplace culture as 'aggressive' and 'unrestrained', including allegations of homophobic slurs and physical threats.

19 February

Former employee Susan Fowler writes a blog post alleging that she left the company after being sexually propositioned by her manager. When she reported the events, and provided proof, to Human Resources, Fowler learned no action would be taken as it was his 'first offence'. She alleges that Uber's Human Resources department systematically covered up sexual harassment complaints. Kalanick launches an internal investigation, hiring former attorney general Eric Holder to lead it.

19 January

Uber agrees to pay $20 million in a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission after it found that the company had made exaggerated claims about how much drivers could earn and how affordable its vehicle financing plans were. It claimed drivers in New York earned a median income of $100,000 and those in San Francisco took home around $80,000. The FTC found that just ten per cent of drivers earned income of that magnitude. 


Around 500,000 Uber customers delete their accounts, as #DeleteUber goes viral. This follows Uber's decision not to participate in an hour long taxi driver strike at JFK Airport in protest at Trump's executive order banning refugees from seven Muslim countries. Kalanick steps down from Trump's business advisory council, citing the ban, on 2 February.