Tuesday, March 21, 2023
When Corporations Outsource Racial Discrimination
Earlier this month, Daniel Lennington, deputy counsel at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, published a piece at The Federalist entitled, “How Corporations Launder Their Race Discrimination Through Third Parties.” Here is an excerpt:
[T]he world’s largest corporations desperately want credit for being “woke” and advancing “racial equity” through programs targeted solely at certain races. Such practices — involving blatant race discrimination — are immoral and contrary to core American values, despite being in fashion with corporate elites. Yet the typical guide rails — state and federal law — may be less available remedies if corporations launder their discrimination through third parties. Corporations should avoid this temptation to outsource their discrimination and perhaps take a lesson from Comcast, one of the first corporations to face legal scrutiny for its race-based program. Following the settlement with our clients, Comcast renewed its efforts toward something called “Project Up,” which, from all indications, is a race-neutral program designed to “advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators.” Comcast will run this program itself and reap the goodwill that will undoubtedly come, while adhering to (lawful) nondiscrimination principles.
In response to this piece, Scott Shepard, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research, published “States Can Stop the Outsourcing of Race Discrimination by Corporations” over at RealClearMarkets. Here is an excerpt:
The clearest route to ending this practice is through state corporations laws. A very short amendment would serve the purpose. Add to the law this phrase at an appropriate spot: “Corporate donations or other pecuniary grants to entities that discriminate, facially or in fact, on grounds forbidden by the civil rights acts of this state have breached their fiduciary duty to shareholders unless they have secured from each shareholder written confirmation of their desire to contribute corporate assets to discriminatory entities.”… [A] second move by states inclined to rein in the new discrimination …. [is to] add to their civil rights statutes a line to the effect that “publicly traded corporations doing business in this state violate this statute if they use corporate assets to fund entities that discriminate in violation of this statute” unless getting the express permission of all shareholders.