On Feb. 18, 2017 — three years ago almost to the day — I sat at my kitchen table, my laptop open, my mind racing. In the two months since I’d quit my job as an entry-level software engineer at Uber, I’d tried to forget what I’d experienced and witnessed there, but it was impossible.
In my year at the company, I’d been propositioned over company chat by my new manager on my first day on his team; when I reported the harassment, I was told it was his first offense, but later learned that it wasn’t (he had been reported to Human Resources before). I’d been berated by my managers until I left the meetings in tears. I’d been promised and then denied a transfer. I’d been retaliated against for reporting discrimination to H.R. I’d taken my concerns all the way to the chief technology officer and nothing had been done.
Although I’d left the company, I was still in touch with a number of my former co-workers. I knew they were experiencing the same kind of discrimination, retaliation and abuse that I’d witnessed and experienced. I heard the despair in their voices and watched helplessly as they became depressed, one after another. One of them had even taken his life.
The stakes couldn’t have been higher: If something didn’t change, if I didn’t speak out, I feared that another employee would commit suicide.