Monday, November 21, 2011
Companies pledge not to discriminate against same-sex marriage opponents
"After interviewing Frank Turek about the abrupt cancellations of his seminar by both Cisco and Bank of America, we wrote to the board of each company raising our concern and asking if company policy really permits otherwise qualified employees and vendors to be punished for speaking out on a public issue like same-sex marriage," said Jonathan Baker, Director of NOM's Corporate Fairness Project.
"We also reached out to 10,000 customers of Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina, who in turn generated 1,400 calls to the corporate complaint line asking the board to promise they would not discriminate in the workplace against supporters of traditional marriage. We received assurances from both corporations that this kind of discriminatory treatment violates corporate policy and will not happen again," continued Baker.
In a November 4, 2011 letter to the National Organization for Marriage, Cisco Corporation Senior Vice President for Legal Services Mark Chandler agreed that, "Cisco was incorrect in dealing with Dr. Turek and the Austin Group. Specifically Cisco concluded that the Austin Group's contract should not have been summarily ended."
Further Cisco attributed the situation to "an unfortunate, but isolated breakdown in Cisco's process, and have taken steps to ensure it does not happen again." Most importantly Cisco has clarified that voicing a traditional view on marriage is not an acceptable reason to fire an employee or discriminate against a qualified vendor. "It is not Cisco's policy, nor is it ‘acceptable to discriminate against vendors such as Frank Turek or employees who, outside the work context, have taken a position supporting marriage as the union of one man and one woman,'" wrote a Cisco executive in a letter to NOM.
Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources for Bank of America also quickly distanced Bank of America from the firing of Dr. Turek – stating:
"We recognize that our differences – in thought, style, culture, ethnicity and experience make us stronger as a company," and that, "we have taken the appropriate measures within our organization to address this matter. Dr. Turek remains a vendor in good standing with us."
Baker responded, "We're grateful these two companies have made it clear they will not tolerate discrimination against employees or vendors based on their views on same-sex marriage. As Frank Turek said, it's simply un-American as well as unwise for anyone to say you have to share one politically correct viewpoint in order to keep your job."
"This is not the end, it's the beginning of NOM's campaign to make sure decent law abiding people who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman are not treated as outcasts or racists. It is not bigotry to say that marriage is the union of a husband and wife, it's common sense; corporations need to respect the diverse views of their employees and customers," said Brian Brown, "We respect the work of corporations like Cisco and Bank of America, which should not be dragged into cultural or political wars, but we also believe corporations should respect the rights of each of its employees, vendors and customers to have their own views and exercise core civil rights to express those views in the democratic process."
at 4:35 PM