Elon Musk’s Tesla may be forced to release diversity data after racial harassment lawsuit

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Tesla may have to release detailed data about Demographics Its workforce appears to have received investor support following a shareholder resolution. electric car manufacturerAnnual meeting on Thursday.

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Calvert Research and Management’s proposal came days after a vote when a court ruled that Tesla Will have to pay $137 million in damages In a racial harassment lawsuit brought by a black former elevator operator at the company’s factory in Fremont, California.

Investors increasingly viewing workforce diversity as a key contributor to long-term success are pressing major corporations to be more transparent.


John Wilson, director of corporate engagement with Calvert Research and Management, told USA Today that the support from Tesla investors shows the pressure campaigns are working.

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His firm expressed a deep commitment to racial diversity last year following the country’s unrest over the killing of George Floyd.

“It’s no longer a minor issue. It’s mainstream,” Wilson said. “We believe, and many others believe, that information like this helps us identify companies that will do well in the market over the long term. It’s not just about social justice or anything like that. It’s actually true. Investing is about making decisions.”

Tesla, which said it would announce the results of the shareholder resolutions within four business days, opposed the shareholder resolution, saying the company already produces a diversity report that outlines its programs and goals.

“Tesla and the board are proud of the progress we’ve made so far,” the company told shareholders.

Tesla first reveal That its US workforce is diverse but that 83 percent of company leadership roles are male and 59% are white. Tesla also said that 79% of the workforce, 75% of new hires and 77% of promotions in 2020 were male.

Black and African American employees comprised 10% of the workforce but 4% of leadership, 12% of new employees and 10% of promotions in 2020. Hispanic and Latino workers were 22% of the workforce, 4% led, 27% new. Hire and 24% promotion.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk visits a construction site near Berlin.

If the shareholder resolution wins the backing of investors, Tesla will have to produce its EEO-1 report, which breaks down the race and gender of the company’s employees by job categories and is filed annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. . Reports are private unless a company discloses it.

“The point is that institutional investors who are committed to this company want this information,” Wilson said, adding that he expressed skepticism that Tesla CEO Elon Musk voted in favor of the proposal. “I’m very confident that what we’ve shown here is that there is a real base of support among the shareholder base and the investor people in the company. That’s the real message for me.”

A USA Today investigation that used Census Bureau data to analyze the EEO-1 reports of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 100 found that despite corporate pledges to change after the assassination of George Floyd, the nation’s largest At the greatest level, deep racial inequalities persist. Powerful companies are creating increasingly disparate results for people of color, especially women of color.

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According to the investigation, black and Hispanic workers are underrepresented in the highest paying and most influential positions, as well as in the ranks of professionals such as lawyers and accountants. At the lower levels of organizations, they are concentrated in – and often over-represented – roles including administrative assistants, technicians and laborers.

Granthshala asked each S&P 100 company to disclose its EEO-1 forms. The majority complied, with many of them disclosing the data for the first time.

Tesla is the latest company to be pressed for diversity data

Tesla did not respond to USA Today’s requests to release its EEO-1.

In recent weeks, more companies have voluntarily released that data to USA Today, including Comcast, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Walmart, AIG and FedEx.

But some of the country’s top companies are still denying USA Today requests including Exxon Mobil and T-Mobile.

“ExxonMobil is committed to building and maintaining a diverse workforce that is broadly representative of the global population where we do business,” company spokesman Todd Spitler said in a statement. “The EEO-1 report is specific to the US and represents a subset of our global population and efforts. Therefore we do not publicly disclose the report.”

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T-Mobile told USA Today that it does not make its EEO-1 report publicly available. Spokeswoman Lisa Bellott said the company includes detailed workforce data in its proxy statements and elsewhere.

Corporations are often reluctant to disclose EEO-1 data for fear of being cast in a negative light or putting themselves at risk for litigation. They also argue that the data they publish in the annual diversity report better reflects their workforce than the data collected by the federal government.

Tesla told shareholders that the resolution did not indicate how the disclosure of its EEO-1 data “would foster a more diverse workforce or provide investors with a better understanding of Tesla’s DEI policies and practices.”

Corporate America is under pressure to make these private documents public. Investors have pressed diversification proposals to a growing number of companies, including IBM and DuPont de Nemours.

IBM told USA Today that it will release its EEO-1 report in 2022. DuPont said it would publish its EEO-1 report later this month.

Kimberly Stokes, Corporate Engagement Strategist at Calvert Research & Management, said, “These documents provide a way to provide investors with comparable, reliable data with which we can compare other companies, other peers, on an apples-to-apples basis.” ” We need reliable and repeatable information to be able to adequately assess companies.”

Read Granthshala’s series on Corporate Diversity Here.

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