Union Contract Aims for Diverse Workforce

Pursuant to its first collective bargaining agreement, The Intercept, a New York based on-line news site, must interview at least two minority job candidates for each open position. Women, people of color, or members of LGBTQ community must be considered for positions.  Both Facebook and Amazon announced in May that they have adopted similar policies. Quotas are not part of the equation, and that helps shield employers from discrimination allegations.

The union contract rips a page from the playbook of the National Football League, which instituted what’s known as the “Rooney Rule.”  The rule voluntarily adopted by all NFL franchises in 2002 requires management to interview at least one minority candidate for every open head coaching job. The NFL expanded the original rule, and it now covers general managers and other equivalent front office positions. At least one woman has to be interviewed for executive positions, too.

A 2010 study from the Journal of Sports Economics found the percentage of black coaches more than tripled within a few years of the Rooney Rule. However, follow up research found that the increase was attributable to other factors, like age and a coach’s previous success – not the rule. Hiring more non-white people for low level coaching positions would more likely improve diversity statistics at the top than the rule. No studies have been done on the nascent Amazon, Facebook, or Intercept rules.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.