be careful what you purge for, diversity and inclusiveness are at risk!

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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?

It really makes you wonder if our world would be what it is today without our diversified leaders in the various industries. Take Eich for instance. He paved the path for the Web as we know it today. Eich is the JavaScript father and co-founder of Mozilla. As many believed he would no longer be able to look out for his workers as one, in the past eight years of building Mozilla’s empire, he recognized he did not do it alone.

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?

randy bowdent | g+ | in | f

(image:123RF)

The post “be careful what you purge for, diversity and inclusiveness are at risk!” appeared first on bowden2bowden blog.

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10 thoughts on “be careful what you purge for, diversity and inclusiveness are at risk!

  1. I’ve been thinking about this a lot Randy. I totally hear your point, but I do not think Eich’s resignation speaks to anything other than a very specific environment at Mozilla, a company immersed in the very progressive culture of Silicon Valley. The resignation did not come about because of a change.org petition, but rather because of the vote of a board.

    There are plenty of outspoken heads of companies who keep their jobs despite their opinions and behavior.

    • In the formal reply from the BOD they state, “Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.” This statement in itself is a contradiction to their actions. Yes a board decision but acting on social pressure. This is a small spark that alarms my valued freedoms much.

      • Yes, I understand that they’re contradicting their own statements, but where did the social pressure come from? I didn’t see any campaigns… I don’t think this one should be chalked up to the social mob.

        As to the Freedom of Speech issue, yes, we have a constitutional right to free speech, but that doesn’t guarantee us our jobs in a private entity. If the board felt that Eich’s outlook didn’t mess with their own I think that a) they should have figured that out long before making him CEO, but b) it is not their duty to keep him.

        People are let go all of the time for clashing with a corporate culture. Just as the Chik-fil-et CEO has every right to his views and his job, this board has every right to act upon theirs. It’s private enterprise.

  2. You end this post with a lot of questions, Randy. I see a HOA on the horizon.
    I have to agree with Amy on this one having looked into it a bit more since hearing about it on the weekend. This was a situation where the beliefs of the company figurehead didn’t mesh with the company culture.
    Eich was defiant to the end. It was pressure from within the company that forced him out more than the social campaign out side.

    Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker addressed the challenge of balancing freedom of speech with freedom of equality.
    “Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”

    There are many large companies that have no problem taking an anti gay position such as Exxon, Purina etc.. The difference is their company cultures seem to be perfectly fine with that.

    • Thanks for the input Ray and you are correct a great HOA topic although it will certainly bring about some point, counterpoints…I understand the quick rush many have tried to paint about a company’s culture and how Eich did not hold the culture in his personal views and or beliefs but I see it slightly different. I place a connection to California’s donation disclosure issues and those who are constantly searching those records on witch hunts looking for what they determine as incorrect views. Eich just happens to be the latest victim and one in a perfect environment to gain press. Much has been written about these type of groups and the many tactics that have been utilized with their Prop 8 Dishonor Role.
      Yes, many company cultures do exist, have worked in a few, even an extremely conservative lead one that embraced marriage equality very early. However, that is not the point of the article, it is much broader than that, may even say sinister to a civil society. Brendan Eich’s position became untenable not because he made a politically awkward contribution but because election laws revealed that sensitive information to people whose interest had nothing to do with clean elections or corporate governance.
      The culture at Mozilla, pure politics.

      • I just got back from voting in election that by Canadian standards, was pretty dirty. This was mostly due to the very personal stake each candidate had in the outcome.
        Just as a side note, Andrew Sullivan, a noted gay journalist took the “militants” to task for “hounding” Eich.
        $1000 contribution to Prop 8 in 2008 doesn’t seem to be a big deal to me. If he had lead a campaign, as has the Mormons and others, that would be different. This is where “zero tolerance” gets mighty close to intolerance.

        • I read Andrew Sullivan’s remarks when researching this opinion piece Ray and many major sources quoted his “disgusting” view of the culture shift of not being satisfied with making or even prevailing in an argument, but in destroying personally and marginalizing people who oppose them.

          We all change and evolve in our lives, I certainly have. However we now have to worry not only what we have done years ago but what we do today and what the culture may scrutinize some years into the future…

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