12 Jun 2020 Salesforce Reserves the Right to Fire Employees for Political Beliefs – But Can’t Explain Why
Washington, D.C. –Salesforce head Marc Benioff, perhaps the most liberal CEO in America, had zero defense when he was called out for refusing to protect his employees and potential hires from blatant discrimination based on their respective ideologies.
Benioff’s stunned silence came in response to a question from National Center for Public Policy Research General Counsel and Free Enterprise Project (FEP) Director Justin Danhof, Esq., during yesterday’s annual meeting of Salesforce investors. Danhof had previously submitted a shareholder resolution seeking to amend Salesforce’s equal employment opportunity policy to protect workers against potential viewpoint discrimination.
At the virtual meeting, Danhof submitted this statement:
For today’s annual meeting, I filed a shareholder resolution with the goal of having Salesforce amend its equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy to protect employees from potential viewpoint discrimination. Rather than doing so, the company petitioned the SEC, arguing that it was within its ordinary business operations to discriminate against its employees based on their ideological views. Given Silicon Valley’s well-known liberal leanings, combined with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s far-left public-facing statements and actions taken on behalf of the company, we are concerned that conservatives may face a hostile work environment at the company.
Furthermore, the company is ignoring the financial risks of viewpoint discrimination. Alphabet recently ended a years-long lawsuit for firing a conservative engineer.
Danhof then asked:
Given all this, will you commit today to amend Salesforce’s EEO policy to explicitly protect against discrimination based on viewpoint and ideology?
Danhof’s entire question, as prepared for delivery, is available here.
After nearly ten seconds of silence, it was clear that Benioff was not going to offer a defense for the company’s position.
“Benioff is perhaps the loudest liberal voice in corporate America,” said Danhof. “Yet he can’t defend himself or the company when I called him out on the policies in place at Salesforce. Why would any publicly traded company desire to discriminate against its workforce based on ideological makeup? Benioff couldn’t defend Salesforce’s position because it’s indefensible.”
Salesforce General Counsel Amy Weaver answered Danhof’s question in Benioff’s place. In nonsensical corporate speech, she claimed, “[w]e have a longstanding belief that it is important to have diverse sets of views and policies within our company, and our employees reflect that. It is very important to the company. It is important to our values, our values that have long stood by us at the company, and we continue to believe in those. As we pointed out in our proxy and through the proposal, we believe that the proposal that was presented was not appropriate for the proxy this year.”
Audio of Danhof’s question and Weaver’s response is available here.
Yesterday’s Salesforce meeting marked the 28th time FEP has participated in a shareholder meeting in 2020. Conservative and Christian investors wanting to understand better how to vote their values through their proxies should download FEP’s Investor Value Voter Guide.
To schedule an interview with a member of the Free Enterprise Project on this or other issues, contact Judy Kent at (703) 759-0269.
Launched in 2007, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project focuses on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Over the past four years alone, FEP representatives have participated in over 125 shareholder meetings – advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and other important public policy issues. As the leading voice for conservative-minded investors, it annually files more than 90 percent of all right-of-center shareholder resolutions. Dozens of liberal organizations, however, annually file more than 95 percent of all policy-oriented shareholder resolutions and continue to exert undue influence over corporate America.
FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP’s work was prominently featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @FreeEntProject and @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.