Labor Department Demands Microsoft Explain Its Racist Hiring Practices

After Microsoft’s recent announcement that it will “double the number of Black and African American people” within its leadership ranks, the Department of Labor has notified the company that its pledge smacks of good old-fashioned racism. As a federal contractor, Microsoft cannot engage in racism of any kind. The Labor Department noted that the company’s announcement “appears to imply that employment action may be taken based on race.”

Justin Danhof

Justin Danhof, Esq.

The department has made clear that this is illegal. Federal contractors are expressly prohibited from “discriminat[ing] against any employee or applicant for employment because of race.” Microsoft has until the end of the month to explain just exactly how it plans to “double the number of Black and African American people” in its employ.

Perhaps Microsoft can try to accomplish this scheme through subtraction. Chevron used the Wuhan virus confusion to pull just such a racist arrangement. In July, a widely distributed Reuters article explained, “Chevron Corp expects to reduce the dominance of white males in company management during cost-cutting this year, upping the share of senior level jobs held by women and ethnic minorities to 44%.” The article, titled “Chevron Diversity Ratio to Improve as Layoffs Progress,” could just as easily be titled “Chevron Uses Crisis to Fire White Men.”

As the American left, which includes most Fortune 500 company leaders, has become increasingly racist, it is exceedingly rare that anyone in authority calls them out for it. Here the Department of Labor is doing more than that by demanding that Microsoft show its work, if you will. Not only is the department calling out Microsoft’s potential racism, but it is asking the company to explain it.

If the Labor Department is inclined to look into other companies, its staff would likely be very busy rooting out similar racist practices. All across corporate America, there is a push to pack companies with affirmative action quotas.

The left has grown bored with applying these racist policies only to college and graduate school admissions. To the left’s thinking, that only provides a platform for more equal opportunity in future career success. Unsatisfied with the results of their decades-long higher education experiment, progressives are now demanding not just equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome.

Take the As You Sow shareholder activist collective, for example. For years, the leftist advocacy organization’s member groups have been filing shareholder resolutions demanding affirmative action for boardrooms and C-suites, and all manner of racist and sexist bean-counting measures — but they are not satisfied.

They recently launched the “Racial Justice Initiative” to “compel action” and “hold corporations accountable.” In an email announcing the plan, CEO Andrew Behar said they are going to gather “data from 1,000 of the nation’s biggest corporations. We’ll analyze it from multiple angles, use it to separate leaders from laggards, and make it public in a Scorecard. Then we’ll hold the laggards accountable. … There won’t be any wiggle room for corporations.” Behar, it bears noting, is an old white man.

If you don’t think a scorecard, shareholder proposals, and pressure from As You Sow will affect corporate America, you haven’t been paying much attention. There is a reason 18 major companies, including Microsoft, are directly funding Black Lives Matter even as BLM activists burn American cities to the ground.

Leftist shareholder proposals, most of which flow from As You Sow, received record support in 2018, broke that record in 2019, and have now reached an all-time high in 2020. These proposals bring about real cultural and societal change and are a major reason for the woke capitalism phenomenon.

The Department of Labor, however, is sending a clear signal that companies might well be breaking the law if they go along with such pressure campaigns to adopt racist hiring practices. Labor’s efforts to root out Microsoft’s racism problem should be applauded — and replicated.


Justin Danhof is the General Counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, as well as Director of the Center’s Free Enterprise Project. This was first published at The Federalist.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.