UPDATED Adidas Employees Are Calling for HR Chief’s Resignation, Say She Dismissed Race Issues as ‘Noise’
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Update: Some Adidas Minority employees show support for CHRO at 9:00 p.m. ET
FN has learned that some members of the coalition and the over 200 employees it represents are not calling for Karen Parkin's resignation. In addition, some of these employees and members of the coalition are working with Parkin on a global initiative for diversity and inclusion for the brand.
This story is developing.
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What we reported earlier at 1:30 p.m. ET
FN has experienced a coalition of 13 and the more than 200 Adidas employees represented by it, the resignation of Karen Parkin, the brand's human resources manager and member of the executive board.
The outcry stems from comments Parkin made at a corporate meeting in Boston last year at Adidas' own Reebok brand - in response to a question about reports that Adidas faced major challenges in treating minority employees.
According to FN sources, Parkin described concerns about racial differences as "noise" and further suggested that the company did not need to take any action because the criticism was only in its North American offices for Adidas.
In an internal memo sent to Adidas employees today, Parkin, who has been CHRO since November 2014, regretted her comment, adding that she should have chosen a “better word” to describe how the company “ Questions of Race ”.
Development takes place after weeks of challenges related to diversity and inclusion in the offices of the German-based company in Portland, Oregon. There was roughly two years of turmoil for Adidas last week when two groups - the coalition-backed collective with more than 200 employees - and another, led by Julia Bond, design assistant for Adidas Originals apparel, in days of protests that called for a change in the way the brand dealt with black employees.
Earlier this month, 13 black employees at Adidas joined forces to form a coalition with the express goal of quickly and permanently changing the company's support for black team members and the entire community - with an additional focus on driving the top management of the brand Germany should push ahead with the organizational reset.
On June 2, the group, which then had approximately 100 employees, delivered a 32-page deck to the management of Adidas North America, including President Zion Armstrong, entitled "Our State of Emergency".
In addition to the claims that management "does not cover minority discrimination" and that "the difference in perception is greatest in Germany", the document listed four important "inquiries". The coalition had demanded that the company invest in its black employees; the black community; the struggle for racial justice and change for black people - and show accountability.
As top managers thought about the demands, hundreds of minority employees had agreed to a sit-out, switching on all of their out-of-office emails until management received the details of a go-forward strategy .
Meanwhile, other Bond-organized employees had gathered daily at the company's headquarters to protest alleged discrepancies between the brand's public news about racial justice and its own treatment of minority employees. Bond and her supporters also apologized to management for the company's treatment of black team members.
On Wednesday, Adidas executives held a meeting outlining some key steps the company wanted to take “immediately” to fix passport errors and create a better culture, including black people.
"First, we have to give credit where it is long overdue: Adidas' success would be nothing without black athletes, black artists, black employees, and black consumers." Period ”, wrote the brand in a chain of tweets that contained a photo with the words“ Black Lives Matter ”. "It's time to get involved in our silence: Black Lives Matter. That's how we commit to making changes between people, communities and responsibilities."
Among other things, the company has committed to increasing its investment in black community support programs to $ 120 million over the next four years. It also promises that 30% of all open internal and external positions will be filled with black and Latinx talents, while 50% of all open positions will be filled with different talents.
Adidas also committed to enforcing a zero-tolerance policy against racial discrimination, saying: “If there are indications of retaliation, criminals will be stopped. To ensure fairness and security, we employ an external investigator who regulates our guidelines and is accountable to us. "
It concluded: “This is our commitment to the black community and the world. We can change and we will. This is just the beginning. "
Neither Reebok nor Adidas immediately responded to FN's request for comment.
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