The CEO and co-Founder of Grubhub Matt Maloney has added his voice to the rising anger over the election. The question is whether he went too far in a recent email to all of employees at the food delivery service that some interpreted as meaning that they should resign if they agree with Trump’s campaign statements or positions. He states “I absolutely reject the nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump and will work to shield our community from this movement as best as I can.” Maloney’s response is why so many Trump voters kept their views secret, including from pollsters. There is a palpable and rising backlash against tens of millions of citizens who exercised their votes in electing Trump. I heard today from a GW student who said that she has been treated as a pariah by other students who were once her friends. However, this backlash is far more serious when coming from the head of a large company in the imposition of what is effectively a political litmus test. The question is where is the outrage? Remember the hue and cry over the owners of the Chick-fil-A chain? That was triggered by a controversial interview given by Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy. Yet, when another company actually threatens to fire anyone who agrees with Trump, there is relatively little response.
Maloney’s email had a subject line of “So . . . that happened…what’s next?” He expressed personal shock with the result and added “I absolutely reject the nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump and will work to shield our community from this movement as best as I can.” Other statements included:
“I want to reaffirm to anyone on our team that is scared or feels personally exposed, that I and everyone else here at Grubhub will fight for your dignity and your right to make a better life for yourself and your family here in the United States.”
“While demeaning, insulting, and ridiculing minorities, immigrants, and the physically/mentally disabled worked for Mr. Trump, I want to be clear that this behavior — and these views — have no place at Grubhub.”
He made clear that Trump might be president but he could never work at this company — or by extension his supporters: “Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination.”
Maloney then told employees that “If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here. We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team.”
Maloney was a public supporter of Hillary Clinton.
I have no issue with a CEO addressing any fears of employees for themselves or their families in light of expected changes in immigration laws. However, there is a line of expressed sympathy for families and expressed hostility toward political views.
Maloney said later that he was proud of the email and that “almost 20 percent” of his employees have personally thanked him.
Ok, that still leaves 80 percent — many of which are likely to now believe that uttering their agreement with the President-elect could result in discipline.
He later issued a press release clarifying his remarks and confirming “does not discriminate on the basis of someone’s principles, or political or other beliefs.” He insisted “I want to clarify that I did not ask for anyone to resign if they voted for Trump. I would never make such a demand. To the contrary, the message of the email is that we do not tolerate discriminatory activity or hateful commentary in the workplace, and that we will stand up for our employees.” Yet, he tied those unacceptable remarks directly to Trump and his supporters. It is hardly paranoia for Trump supporters to conclude that they can only express their political views at their own peril.
What do you think?