A group of Apple shareholders is calling for a civil-rights audit, amid employee controversies and slow progress in diversifying its workforce.
While the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has allowed a shareholder proposal in reference to Apple’s alleged use of concealment clauses and non-disclosure agreements, a separate group wants more.
MarketWatch reports that a group of three shareholders including SOC Investment Group, have filed proposals that follow allegations of staff harassment. The proposals are also said to include an audit of the company’s own racial inequality policies, as distinct from its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.
“It is unclear how Apple plans to address racial inequality in its workforce,” says the proposal, as shred by MarketWatch. “Apple currently has no Hispanics and only one Black member on its executive team.”
“[Apple is] spending money on racial and mostly philanthropic initiatives and don’t really address the company’s own policies,” SOC executive director Dieter Waizenegger, told MarketWatch. “The chief diversity officer is not in the C-suite [a term for the most important people in a firm], and there’s a really low percentage of Black officers in the company. Whatever the company’s doing, it seems like there’s a gap.”
In 2014, Apple’s leadership was 3% Black and 6% Hispanic. In 2020, those numbers rose to 4% Black and 8% Hispanic, according to the company’s diversity report. Its tech workforce was 6% Black and 7% Hispanic in 2014. In 2020, Black employee representation in its tech workforce remained at 6%, while the Hispanic percentage crept up to 8%.
Apple told MarketWatch that it had no comment on the proposal.