Equal employment opportunity (EEO) is a fair employment practice and an investment issue. We believe companies with good EEO records have a competitive advantage in recruiting/retaining employees. We believe Home Depot customers are increasingly diverse. A diverse work force is more likely to anticipate and respond effectively to consumer demand.
EEO practices have economic relevance.Home Depot annually files an EEO-1 report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This information could be made available to shareholders at a minimal additional cost.In 2001, Home Depot began providing EEO information to investors upon request.Since then, Home Depot reversed policy on disclosure of this information.
Allegations of discrimination in the workplace burden shareholders with costly litigation/fines which can damage a company’s reputation.
Home Depot paid out more than $100 million to settle discrimination lawsuits in the past 16 years. The most costly EEOC settlement was $87 million in 1997. In 2004, Home Depot agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle charges of class-wide gender, race and national origin discrimination at 30 Colorado stores. In 2006, Home Depot paid $125,000 to settle a racial harassment/retaliation lawsuit that alleged Home Depot subjected a former lumberman/forklift operator to a racially hostile work environment and fired him in retaliation for complaining. In 2009, Home Depot paid $84,750 to settle retaliation charges related to a 2004 discrimination suit.
In 2012, Home Depot faced additional controversies. In April, the company settled a suit brought by the Department of Justice for allegedly violating the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. In September, Home Depot paid $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the EEOC charging failure to provide reasonable accommodation for a worker diagnosed with cancer.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that Home Depot prepare a diversity report, at reasonable cost and omitting confidential information, available to investors by September 2014, including the following:
1. A chart identifying employees according to their gender and race in each of the nine major EEOC-defined job categories for the last three years, listing numbers or percentages in each category;
2. A summary description of any affirmative action policies and programs to improve performance, including job categories where women and minorities are underutilized;
3. A description of policies/programs oriented toward increasing diversity in the workplace.
In 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported racial minorities comprised 35.2% of the private industry workforce, but just 11.8% of executives and managers. Likewise, women represented 48.0% of the workforce, but just 29.0% of executives and managers. Employment and advancement barriers persist.
We agree with a recommendation of the 1995 bipartisan Glass Ceiling Commission 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.” Home Depot has demonstrated leadership on many corporate social responsibility issues.We ask the company to again demonstrate leadership in diversity by committing to EEO disclosure.