Outcome: Successfully Withdrawn
Equal employment opportunity (EEO) is an important issue for corporate shareholders, employees and management, especially as the workforce becomes more diverse. According to the bipartisan Glass Ceiling Commission report, a positive diversity record makes a positive impact on the bottom line.
Yet, while women and minorities comprise two thirds of our population and 57% of the United States workforce, the Commission found that they represent little more than 3% of executive-level positions. Various projections indicate that women and minorities will constitute 62% of the workforce by 2006.
Workplace discrimination has created a significant burden for shareholders due to the high cost of litigation and potential loss of government contracts. Such litigation also damages corporate and industry images. In the pharmaceutical, petroleum and retail industries, discrimination lawsuits have resulted in a financial impact on shareholders that adds up to billions of dollars.
The Glass Ceiling Commission recognized that “public disclosure of diversity data-specifically data on the most senior positions-is an effective incentive to develop and maintain innovative, effective programs to break the glass ceiling barriers.” The Commission recommended that both the public and private sectors work toward increased public disclosure of diversity data.
“Accurate data on minorities and women can show where progress is or is not being made in breaking glass ceiling barriers,” observed the Commission.
More than 200 major U.S. corporations disclose EEO-1 reports to their shareholders. Among these companies are many who have experienced large racial and gender discrimination lawsuits; for example, Texaco, Shoney, Denny, Smith Barney and Coca-Cola. Today virtually every industry can claim some corporations who provide these reports to their shareholders. As an example, some institutions in the financial industry that have disclosed comprehensive EEO-1 data are Bank of America, Bank of New York, Citigroup, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch and JPMorganChase.
The shareholders request our company prepare a report, at reasonable cost and omitting confidential information, within four months of the annual meeting, including the following:
1. A chart identifying employees according to their sex and race in each of the nine major EEOC-defined job categories for the last three years, listing either numbers or percentages in each category;
2. A summary description of any affirmative action policies and programs to improve performances, including job categories where women and minorities are underutilized;
3. A description of any policies and programs oriented specifically toward increasing the number of managers who are qualified females or minorities;
4. A general description of how our company publicizes its affirmative action policies and programs to merchandise suppliers and service providers.