Home Depot – Workplace Diversity (2019)
WHEREAS: 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 available to shareholders at a minimal additional cost. In 2001, Home Depot provided EEO information to investors upon request. Since then, Home Depot reversed policy on its 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 has paid out $100 million plus to settle discrimination lawsuits, including $87 million in a 1997 settlement and $5.5 million to settle charges of class-wide gender, race and national origin discrimination at 30 Colorado stores.
In 2015, Home Depot settled a gender discrimination lawsuit for $83,400, alleging that women who were qualified for sales positions were relegated to cashiers jobs rather than sales jobs.
In 2016, Judge David Carter approved a $3 million Home Depot class action lawsuit settlement, ending allegations that Home Depot violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by using improper background check forms on job applications. Home Depot agreed to comply with FCRA.
In 2018, an EEOC lawsuit was resolved with Home Depot paying $100,000 for failing to accommodate and then firing an employee with a disability-related emergency. The Peru, Illinois store is required to provide ADA training and semi-annual reporting to the EEOC.
In 2018, 48.3% of Home Depot shares voted (counting votes for and against) supported this proposal.
Shareholders request that Home Depot prepare a diversity report, at reasonable cost and omitting confidential information, available to investors by September 2019, including the following:
1. A chart identifying employees according to their gender and race in 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 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported racial minorities comprised 37.2 percent of the private industry workforce, but just 14.01 percent of executives and managers. Women represented 47.85 percent of the workforce, but just 29.73 percent of executives and managers.
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 demonstrate leadership in diversity by committing to EEO disclosure.