Wednesday marks the start of Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s HR Compliance Certificate program. As one of the Adjunct Professors, I’m pumped! With a cohort of HR folk from around the country, we get to analyze, theorize, and hash out business and HR compliance issues that can pop up in every company. We also get to chat about current HR compliance events. Here are a few we’ll touch on:
“Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”
Over the last few days, a “manifesto” written by a male Googler went viral. The 10-page document recounts how the genders are different and diversity and inclusion programs have only resulted in more discrimination. (His words, not mine.) Here’s a snippet:
We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.
Status is the primary metric that men are judged on, pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.
Yonathan Zunger, a former Googler, wrote a well-reasoned response to the manifesto discussing how it makes it harder for Google to operate. Google’s brand new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance also weighed in, writing “Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”
Google is in the midst of a gender discrimination action brought by the OFCCP. The action has already garnered a great deal of attention. This manifesto makes the action even more interesting.
Last session, HR compliance had an easy mark in Uber. Gender discrimination, sexual harassment, former United States Attorney General investigation, HR leader encouraging hugs, a new performance review, ousted CEO, you name it, Uber has an HR compliance issue for you!
Uber’s compliance issues have not gone away nor have they really calmed down. Following a petition from employees to return embattled and controversial CEO Travis Kalanick, Mr. Kalanick appears to want control of his company. He has made such comments that he is “Steve Jobs-ing it” and has hired a CEO-consulting company to help him regain control. While his success remains to be seen, he poses interesting HR risks.
While both of these issues come out of Silicon Valley, they are not new to HR. Every sector has issues, and every company could have a PR nightmare like these. I’m particularly interested in how students would try to attack these issues. So, how would you respond?