NEW YORK, NY — Comptroller Stringer has called for CBS and Alphabet to end “Inequitable Employment Practices” that force employees to relinquish their ability to challenge unlawful discrimination and harassment.
As CBS and Alphabet continue to face widespread employee criticism over hostile workplace issues – including public lawsuits and mass employee walk-outs, the New York City Comptroller’s ‘shareholder proposals’ targets damaging practices at these companies. The proposal calls for an end to the mandatory arbitration of employment-related claims, non-compete agreements with employees, agreements with other companies not to recruit each other’s employees, and involuntary non-disclosure agreements. In addition these companies have a track record of corporate cover-up of harassment as well as retaliation against whistleblowers.
“When big corporations force their workers to sign away basic rights, investors have to fight back. These fine print agreements have damaging consequences for workers, investors, and the public. Mandatory arbitration and forced non-disclosure silence workers and keep misconduct in the shadows. No-poaching agreements and non-competes can suppress pay and keep employees from leaving hostile workplaces. As investors, these exploitative practices aren’t just wrong on a human level, they have a wide impact on our broader economy,” said Comptroller Stringer. “Over the last two years, on issues from sexual assault to shameless exploitation that endangers workers, brave whistleblowers have sounded the alarm on how the deck is stacked against working people. Corporations and boards of directors that continue to rely on the forced silencing of their employees are creating long-term reputational and regulatory risks for their companies and their investors. We’re committed to using our power as shareowners to unstack the deck, improve accountability, and position these companies for sustained growth.”
Shareholder proposals are an effective tool for investors to bring change to a company. The proposals submitted by Comptroller Stringer will be voted on in the upcoming year and included in Alphabet and CBS’s “proxy”. In recent years, companies have relied on contractual arrangements with their employees that put strict limits on workers.