In 2008, Mozilla’s then CTO, Brendan Eich, donated $1000 in support of Proposition 8, the ballot against same-sex marriage. However, on April 3rd, he stepped down and resigned from his less than 2-week-old newly appointed position as CEO of Mozilla. In stating, “I encourage all Mozillians to keep going” on his blog, surely he meant all employees and not just a heterosexual or just the LGBT community – all employees.
So, in doing so and a company standing behind his resignation, is our society in danger and diversity and inclusiveness at risk?
Would Our World Be What it is Today?
Separation of Church and State
Why should our leaders have correlating personal and business beliefs? Is it not enough that they say they want to see their company succeed and will do so at whatever costs? Wouldn’t they use the most brilliant minds regardless of race, creed, political stance, or sexual preferences?
In a country built by religious believers, our first amendment was enacted with the separation of the Church and the State. If our forefathers believed that our nation could be ruled to look out for the best interest of Americans and not just Catholics, or just Jewish, or just Buddhists, why can’t a simple corporation look out for the best interest of all stakeholders, including their employees? Why can’t there be a separation of a private position and their public stance?
Now had our C-level executives had a personal opposition and it is clearly shown in the workplace, I do feel they should take a step down. If they are acting on personal beliefs, then they clearly are not upholding their corporate responsibility and social causes.
But, if the C-level executive shows proof that they are building and supporting those they oppose in the outside world, what harm is this at all? Eich was not assertive in upholding gay rights in the workplace, but he didn’t oppose it either.
Taking a Step Back
So what truly is the issue in our professional world? An employee of a company is to work and uphold the duties outlined in their job description. Most often, everyone knows the topics to avoid in the workplace: politics, religious beliefs, and other sensitive personal beliefs. If certain things do leak out, yes, it could lead to discrimination or even go as far as a hate crime. But never is a person’s professional credibility scrutinized.
Eich supported Proposition 8 back in 2008, and although he still hinted that he still is against gay marriages, he did move up to become Mozilla’s chief executive officer many years later. Before that time, no one scrutinized his professional credibility. No one challenged if he rightfully belonged as the CEO.
It’s different though, since the CEO is considered the face of the company. Everything they do or say reflects the organization. CEO’s and other organizational leaders have a heavy influence on their employees’ lives as well as how the public interacts and support an organization. To me, a company and the public should embrace a leader that can place their personal objectives aside to build an empire that has bettered our society.
Is There No Longer Room for Privacy?
I guess since there is no privacy in the workplace that also means none in employee’s lives. Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can actually cause employees of any level to be terminated. There are so many who have missed out on grand opportunities of getting their foot in the doors of their dream company or advancing because of pictures posted on these sites, expressing their views, or even sharing and supporting news stories and blog posts.
So the question I ask today is, is it damaging to our society that our industry leaders cannot be who they are? Where will this push us as a free country? No longer can our industry leaders support their political causes if they speak out on it. In that case, what would be the “status quo”? Eventually, who will decide what is just in what we should believe? Who will be the supporters and decide who should be supported? Will our rights to think freely be stripped, not because of government actions, but because of corporate responsibility?
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