Palo Alto Networks really, really doesn’t want to share its workplace demographics.
When an investment firm asked the cybersecurity company to disclose its diversity numbers, Palo Alto Networks – which has 11 men and one woman on its management team – refused.
When the investment firm, Trillium Asset Management, put it to a shareholder vote, Palo Alto Networks’ board – made up of 10 men and one woman – officially opposed it.
Then, earlier this month, the tech company’s shareholders voted. There were more than 30 million votes in favor of disclosure, and just over 29 million votes against. It was a rare majority for a shareholder resolution facing company opposition.
But Palo Alto Networks didn’t see it that way. By counting nearly 2 million abstentions as votes against the proposal, the tech firm proclaimed that the resolution failed, with 49 percent in favor.
Palo Alto Networks didn’t respond to requests for comment. Susan Baker, Trillium’s vice president of shareholder advocacy, called the company’s approach short-sighted.
“Palo Alto Networks shareholders sent a strong message,” she said. “It’s time to stop making excuses.”
Tech firms are facing pressure to disclose the race and gender breakdown of their employees as a way of being held accountable for diversity efforts. All companies with 100 or more employees already provide the data to the government each year in what’s called an EEO-1 report.
This year, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting surveyed 211 of the top tech companies in Silicon Valley, asking them to provide their EEO-1 reports. Only 23 released them.
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