Shareholder disputes occur often in publicly-traded corporations, including in Oregon. There are a myriad of issues that can cause shareholder concern and a number of different ways in which shareholders may register their concerns. One way to do this is to raise shareholder concerns at the annual meeting. When such disputes become known, the company’s attorneys are mobilized to monitor the situation and follow through if it may turn into an actionable business law dispute.
Such turmoil occurs even at the largest corporations. On June 7, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, held its annual shareholder meeting amidst a mini-resurrection of Google employees who came forth to challenge management regarding diversity in management positions, according to CNET. It may be that the disputes over a Google report on the gender gap that emerged in 2017 ignited a permanent area of interest regarding diversity at the company.
The dispute last year involved an uproar over a memo prepared by a Google employee that argued that gender gap in the tech industry was due to primarily to biological differences between men and women and was not due to sexism. In the growing women’s rights movement, issue on the subject of the equality of women in the workplace are highly sensitive. The memo’s premise was considered outrageous enough that Google’s CEO fired the male author.
On June 7, an engineer at Google joined with an asset management firm to propose that executive pay be measured by diversity metrics at Alphabet. The presenter indicated that the lack of clear policies to advance diversity and the absence of action and leadership on diversity among senior executives made her and others feel unsafe and unable to do their work. Critics have targeted Alphabet and other technology giants by pointing to the lack of diversity on their boards. Considering the resolve and momentum of women’s organizations and issues nationwide, it is safe to expect that diversity will be introduced much more rapidly into the corporate fabric of high tech companies going forward. Business law attorneys in Oregon and throughout the nation will be at the center of both sides of the issue.