An angry employee took that photo of a slide used in a diversity training program. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company’s has a “zero-tolerance policy”,” and like almost all such policies, the employee or committee charged with developing it lacked the wisdom, perspective, legal guidance, common sense, and ethics skills to do it competently. The employee says the obviously incompetent slide above was presented at the Topeka plant by an area manager and says the slide came from Goodyear’s corporate office out of Akron, Ohio.
“If someone wants to wear a BLM shirt in here, then cool. I’m not going to get offended about it. But at the same time, if someone’s not going to be able to wear something that is politically based, even in the farthest stretch of the imagination, that’s discriminatory,” said the whistle-blower. “If we’re talking about equality, then it needs to be equality. If not, it’s discrimination.”
Bingo. A lawyer could hardly do better. Here’s one, Professor Turley, regarding the slide:
I get the policy on barring “forms of advocacy” and businesses have the right to impose limitations…However, the list does not seem to follow a needed bright-line rule to avoid the appearance of bias. The inclusion of Black Lives Matter but not Blue Lives Matter raises the most obvious concern over a preference for political viewpoints. There are some people who support the call that Black Lives Matter but do not support the organization. Others support both the Black Lives Matter as well as Blue Lives Matter. I understand the view of many people that we need to focus on BLM to address problems of racial justice in our system. But it is a viewpoint preference.
…Goodyear has a right to limiting viewpoints expressed in their stores. For example, a clothing store may want to espouse environmental causes. In taking such an approach, there is an obvious risk of boycotts and backlash but I do not believe that there is a legal requirement to evenly apply such rules in a private space.
…In this dispute, Goodyear is allowing some advocacy while barring other forms of advocacy. However, this is a private space (albeit open to the public). The first amendment applies to government limitations on free speech. Thus, Goodyear is likely to face economic and political consequences rather than legal consequences for its policy.
That’s the legal perspective. Here’s the ethics perspective: it is unethical for a company to tell employees that some political or social advocacy in the workplace is “acceptable” and other points of view are unacceptable. The employee was right. It’s discrimination and viewpoint bias, and unfair, incompetent and irresponsible, for Goodyear to say, “If you broadcast these opinions, yay for you, but if you have a different opinion, it’s no- tolerance.” It’s especially unethical for Goodyear to be taking sides that advocate the demonization of police, or that oppose the President of the United States. MAGA’s not tolerated, but Biden/Harris T-shirts are fine? Wrong. Stupid and wrong, as Goodyear’s “clarification” made clear:
“Goodyear is committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful workplace where all of our associates can do their best in a spirit of teamwork. As part of this commitment, we do allow our associates to express their support on racial injustice and other equity issues but ask that they refrain from workplace expressions, verbal or otherwise, in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party as well as other similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of equity issues.”
As I said: stupid. Incompetent. An organization that calls all whites racist, vilifies the nation’s Founders and advocates de-funding the police is not for “equity,” nor does openly promoting such a group send a message of “inclusiveness.” A policy that has “no tolerance” for expressions of support for one candidate but leaves the door open for support of his adversary is not engaging in “equity.”
Those responsible for that policy should be punished, demoted, or fired.
What’s going on here? I’m pretty sure it isn’t that Goodyear really wants to advocate for Black Lives Matter or oppose President Trump’s re-election. What’s going on is that Goodyear’s management is trying to minimize customer backlash and employee controversy by virtue-signaling , just like so many other gutless and jelly-spined corporations that have been intimidated into promoting the racist, violent, dishonest, hate-mongering and Marxist organization with the deceptively cuddly name.
Then, as he often does, President Trump chose even more poorly. He tweeted,
It is unethical, and, not that I want to give coup-minded Democrats ideas, a serious abuse of power for the President of the United States to advocate a boycott against any corporation or organization. Goodyear’s stock dropped after Trump’s tweet. He is right that the Left has been playing the boycott “game,” and in doing so it has been playing with fire. That should not suggest that playing with more fire is smart or reasonable. Trump has never comprehended that “tit for tat” is unethical; his version of the Golden Rule is “Do unto others what they do unto you, but harder” Advocating boycotts is coercive and anti-democratic, and the President, more than anyone, must not do it. Ever. The tactic is so ripe for abuse that it gives POTUS the power to extort any company that displeases him.
Goodyear quickly blathered out…something:
Huminahuminhumina. That was double talk. Why was the slide being used at all? It had a Goodyear logo. If Goodyear supports the police, why is it tacitly endorsing an anti-police movement and opposing a pro-police slogan? If political campaigning of “any kind” is prohibited, why are only supporters of the President listed on the “bad side” of the chart?
Goodyear is lying. This is, once again, Rationalization #64, “It isn’t what it is.” I’m glad the company is embarrassed and that its incompetence and lack of principles have been exposed. I’m glad that Goodyear’s stock fell in value. However, the ends don’t justify the means.
The President should not have been involved.