Retail investors are readying a campaign against software giant Salesforce today to push it into action on racial equality, after the firm faced two recent resignations over “rampant microaggressions and gaslighting’”
The group of investors, convened by activist shareholder group Tulipshare, are now pushing bosses to commission an independent audit of the firm’s performance on civil rights, equity, diversity and inclusion.
It comes after Cynthia Perry, a senior manager of research in the firm’s business technology department, resigned after saying she had been “gaslit, manipulated, bullied, neglected, and mostly unsupported” by a manager at Salesforce.
Her resignation was then followed within weeks by Vivianne Castillo who penned an open letter to bosses saying she had “grown tired of watching the canaries of underrepresented minorities go into the coal mines of Salesforce’s culture”.
Tulipshare said that Salesforce needed to act fast to improve representation at the firm.
“Increased diversity in the workplace is linked to increased productivity, innovation and performance,” said Antoine Argouges, Chief Executive and Founder of Tulipshare founder.
“With recent events such as the murder of George Floyd and the disproportionate impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are hopeful that Salesforce will take our request seriously and work collaboratively with us to come to a resolution.”
Although Salesforce hired its first Chief Equality Officer in 2016 and began releasing quarterly equality reports, the company’s diversity numbers have seen slow progress.
Representation of Hispanic employees at Salesforce has edged up from four per cent in 2015 to 5.1 per cent, while representation of Black employees has risen from 2 per cent in 2015 to 4.3 per cent in 2021.
Tulipshare said that even if Salesforce achieves its goal of 50 per cent of its U.S. workforce made up of underrepresented groups by 2023, certain groups would likely remain underrepresented due to the definition the firm uses.
Salesforce equality policy bundles “Women, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Multiracial, LGBTQ+ employees, People with Disabilities, and Veterans” together to form the company’s definition of “underrepresented groups”
Shareholders are now set to vote on the proposal of an audit at the firm’s annual general meeting.