All Business is Personal & Political

As I’m traveling to the Forrester B2B Marketing conference today I can’t seem to get a break from the presidential contest. Of course the event is being held at the Trump National Doral Miami and heading through George Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas. While I’m looking forward to seeing some of my favorite analysts Allison Snow and Laura Ramos, we decided as a company that while we would attend the conference we would not stay at one of Trump’s hotels because Donald Trump’s values and actions are not compatible with the values of our company, particularly our value of Customer Success and Transparency.

You see about half of our customers are women and the recent video released last week and the now 9, and seemingly growing list of women who have complained publicly about sexual harassment or assault by Donald Trump, are so opposite of what we stand for as a company.

I was listening to NPR this week and an attorney called into the show and reminded the audience that in 2005 Donald Trump was an employee of NBC, and had his actions been reported to management Donald would have been fired by most companies. That’s because of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Under that federal law which was put in place more than 50 years ago by Congress and Texan Lyndon Johnson, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires employers not to discriminate for any reason including gender.

42 U.S. Code § 2000e–2 – Unlawful employment practices

a) Employer practices
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer—

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Mario Puzo, author of the Godfather, said “All business is personal.”  Maybe all business is now political because every business I’ve worked for has some sort Code of Conduct which stems from the Civil Rights Act. In 2005 Donald Trump was an employee of NBC. I researched the NBC Code of Conduct and here’s an excerpt of what NBC News says about posting content on their Website:

You will not upload, post, transmit, transfer, disseminate, distribute, or facilitate distribution of any content, including text, images, sound, data, information, or software, that:

incites, advocates, or expresses pornography, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity, hatred, bigotry, racism, or gratuitous violence, misrepresents the source of anything you post, including impersonation of another individual or entity…

…is intended to threaten, stalk, defame, defraud, degrade, victimize, or intimidate an individual or group of individuals for any reason; including on the basis of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, or religion

Presumably NBC has a similar policy for their employees. We do at Full Circle Insights and here’s an excerpt of what ours says:

Policy Against Proscribed Harassment and Discrimination:
We are committed to maintaining a respectful, courteous work environment free of unlawful discrimination and harassment, and we are committed to taking all reasonable steps to prevent it and address it. We will not tolerate harassment relating to any characteristic protected under applicable law by any employee, contractor, vendor, customer, or visitor. Protected characteristics include age, race, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth or medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, military status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. In addition to any disciplinary action we may take, up to and including termination of employment, offenders may also be personally liable, in the event of litigation, for damages and attorney’s fees and other costs of litigation.

This policy is very standard. Its table stakes for human resource management and has been the law for more than 50 years! Furthermore, employees would be held to the same standard whether working onsite or offsite – say doing an interview for a TV show.

Donald Trump is the leader of The Trump Organization. Presumably they have a Code of Conduct, just like other companies to provide guidance to their employees. Just for fun I Googled this and couldn’t find a Code of Conduct but found a Code of Ethics that references a Code of Business Conduct. Not sure if this is a real web page or not.

Regardless, the bottom line is that conduct like that on the video is cause for termination at many companies and would be at Full Circle Insights. As business people, I think we can and should hold that standard. It’s only decent.

Bonnie Crater

About Bonnie Crater

Bonnie is a 5-time VP of Marketing at Genesys, Netscape, Oracle (Network Computer Inc.), Stratify, and VoiceObjects. While valuing the creative side of marketing, Bonnie's real love is marketing operations -- measuring marketing investments and determining investment optimization. Now as CEO of Full Circle Insights, Bonnie is working to help fellow marketers get the data needed to succeed. In 2000, Bonnie was named one of the “Top 20 Female Executives in Silicon Valley” by San Jose Magazine. Bonnie holds a B.A. in biology from Princeton University.