Rooting Out Brendan Eichs At JPMorgan Chase
For your Signs Of The Times file, Prof. Robert George passes along this from an unnamed friend of his, an 11-year employee of JPMorgan Chase bank:
This is a company wide survey. All lines of business have the same survey. There was a question where it said to check the boxes that were applicable to you. You could select one, more than one, or none. Here it is:
Are you: 1) A person with disabilities; 2) A person with children with disabilities; 3) A person with a spouse/domestic partner with disabilities; 4) A member of the LGBT community.
I thought 4 was a little oddly placed, but oh well. It was the next option that pulled the needle off the record:
5) An ally of the LGBT community, but not personally identifying as LGBT.
What?! What kind of question was that? An “ally” of that community? What’s the alternative if you don’t select that option? You’re not a ally of the LGBT community?
This survey wasn’t anonymous. You had to enter your employee ID. With the way things are going and the fact that LGBT rights are being viewed as pretty much tantamount to the civil rights movement of the mid 50s to late 60s, not selecting that option is essentially saying “I’m not an ally of civil rights”; which is a vague way to say “I’m a bigot.” The worry among many of us is that those who didn’t select that poorly placed, irrelevant option will be placed on the “you can fire these people first” list.
Read the whole post for more, including George’s commentary.
This is chilling. What on earth could being an “ally” of the gay community have to do with whether or not you are a good bank employee? Is a Baptist who treats everyone, gay and straight, with fairness and respect, and who doesn’t bring his religious views into the workplace, an LGBT ally, even if he quietly disapproves of gay marriage? Why is Chase not asking if people consider themselves allies of African-Americans, or Hispanics, or any other minority group? Should Chase ask its employees whether or not they consider themselves allies of the Jewish community? Of Muslims? Of atheists?
What business is it of a bank’s to know the private views of its employees?
A few years ago, a friend of mine worked for a privately held company whose president/CEO sent out an employee survey asking similar questions, including polling his employees on their political and religious beliefs. The company was not political, and non-sectarian — yet the president was known for his highly conservative political and religious views. The survey scared employees to death, and, I learned, offended even religious conservatives (like my friend) who feared it would put members of his department who were political liberals and/or unbelievers in jeopardy, despite the quality of their work.
There was nothing illegal about the survey, at least as far as my friend knew, just as there’s nothing apparently illegal about the Chase survey. Still, in my friend’s case, the president’s survey of his workforce was a real blow to morale in the company, because it made those who lined up on the other side of the president afraid for their jobs, and angered at least some religious and political conservatives on staff who, like my friend (a manager there, and a religious conservative), wanted to protect his team from the prospect of reprisal.
After George posted that e-mail, some expressed skepticism — but now a second JPMorgan Chase employee has reached out to the Princeton law professor, asking for anonymity to protect himself/herself from reprisal, and saying the survey was for real. George is now asking for someone to send in a screen shot of the survey, if they retained one.
What possible reason could Chase have for making such an inquiry of its staff, other than to create a blacklist of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and anybody else whose conscience won’t allow them to sign on as LGBT “allies,” but who were never previously suspected of being unfair to gay employees? This is not about policing behavior; it’s about policing thought, and, as the JPMorgan Chase webpage about LGBTs in the firm says, “to support, guide and celebrate your development as you progress – both professionally and personally.”
So, it’s not possible that, say, a faithful Catholic could support, guide, and celebrate the development of her LGBT employees and still remain true to her faith? Is JPMorgan Chase saying that no traditional Christians, Orthodox Jews, or Muslims need apply?
As Prof. George says, “Brendan Eich was only the beginning.” It seems also that George is beginning to observe the Law Of Merited Impossibility at work in corporate America. He writes:
The philosopher Richard Schuldenfrei once told me about what it was like growing up as a “red diaper baby” in a devoutly Communist family: “We were taught two things: The Rosenbergs were not spies, and it’s a good thing they were.” I wonder if we’re heading for something similar in this case: “The survey questions were not asked, and it’s a good thing they were.”