Amazon to Conduct Racial Disparity Audit of Hourly US Employees
Following shareholder pressure around the company's hiring practices, Amazon.com has retained former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct a racial equity study. Amazon said in a filing last week that the audit would "evaluate any disparate racial impacts" of its policies on its U.S. hourly employees. The company said the audit will be conducted by Lynch, the first Black woman to serve as U.S. Attorney General. The law firm she joined in 2019 — Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP — will assist in the audit, according to CNN Business.
Amazon said it will publicly release the results from the audit once it is completed.
The shareholders said in the filing that Amazon "faces controversies ... that pose various risks and raise questions related to the company's overall strategy and the company's alignment with its public statements," including its treatment of minority workers, lawsuits alleging discriminatory hiring and promotion practices, and criticism regarding its products and services' adverse impacts on civil rights and communities of color."
Total Retail's Take: The audit announcement has been a long time coming. CBS News reported that Amazon shareholders began pushing the company for such an audit almost one year ago. And while Amazon has made strides in the number of BIPOC employees it has hired since 2018, less than 4 percent of its senior leaders were Black or Hispanic in 2020, according to company data. The e-commerce giant carries a lot of weight in whatever it does within the retail industry, and could inspire other retailers to take on similar endeavors to strengthen the diversity of their workforces.