May 6, 2020

Uber cuts 3,700 in biggest SF tech layoffs during coronavirus

Uber will slash 3,700 recruiting and customer support staff in the largest round of layoffs to date for a San Francisco company during the coronavirus epidemic.

The San Francisco ride-hailing company is cutting 14% of its total staff and expects to incur $20 million in charges, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will forgo his salary for 2020.

It was not immediately clear where the job losses would hit, though Uber is one of San Francisco’s largest private employers.

Uber’s smaller rival Lyft had 982 layoffs last week, with both companies citing a drop in ridership due to coronavirus in federal filings.

The companies are also facing a lawsuit from California officials related to AB5, alleging that they misclassified their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.

Over the past decade, Uber became a juggernaut of San Francisco’s new tech epicenter, and it became one of the largest private office tenants in the Bay Area. It is currently completing a massive new headquarters complex next to Chase Center and also has major office expansions in Dallas, Chicago and New York.

But a wave of scandals in 2017, including reports of sexual harrassment of employees and clashes with regulators, led to the departure of co-founder Travis Kalanick as CEO. The company went public last year with disappointing results, seeing its valuation drop from a $82 billion target on its debut to $47 billion on Wednesday.

Roland Li is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @rolandlisf

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