The letter also calls for the creation of an anonymous platform on which employees can report cases of racism and discrimination and for protection against retaliation.
“Our employees have bravely raised their voices to people in positions of power; they have called for the fact that we are not representatives of the communities we profit from and we lack the leadership, processes and goals that will allow us to get there,” the letter said.
The letter also asks the company’s supervisory board to “investigate whether we have the right approach and behavior of our manager (chief human resources officer) to resolve this issue within Adidas.” They add that employees believe that “it is important that our approach to resolving these issues is modeled by our top management, especially in human resources where its purpose is the health and work of the organization.”
“Adidas and Reebok have always been and will always be against discrimination in all its forms and we stand united against racism,” the company said in a statement to CNN. “Our black employees spearheaded the response that we will continue to implement together and that we are committed as a company. We are now focused on making progress and making real change right away.”
She did not respond directly to a request for comment on this story. Still, Adidas said Parkin is currently working with a coalition of employees on global diversity and commitments to join the company.
“You’ve all seen our announcements over the past few days outlining what we’ve done to confront the cultural and systemic forces that support racism,” Parkin said in a statement released to Adidas employees last week. “We know we need to do more to create an environment where everyone will feel safe, heard and with equal opportunities to advance in their careers.”
The company also acknowledged in last week’s announcement that its actions may be “too small, too late”.
“We celebrated athletes and artists in the black community and used their image to culturally define ourselves as a brand, but we missed the message by reflecting so little representation within our walls,” the company said in a statement.
Some Adidas employees believe that they are shares of this company insufficient. They call on management to explicitly disclose racism within the company and be transparent about the additional steps it plans to take.
“All of Marko’s commitments so far represent symptomatic changes and they do not recognize or know why our employees continue to experience racism and discrimination,” the letter reads. “A public apology and recognition is needed as the beginning of anti-racist work and are the foundation of any of our ‘actions’ given that the company can belong effectively.”
In a statement to employees this week, Parkin said she “should have chosen a better word” during the meeting and apologized if she had offended anyone.
“As a member of the Executive Board responsible for human resources, it was my responsibility to clearly clarify my final position against discrimination, and I did not,” Parkin said. “My team and I are committed to improving our company’s culture to ensure equality, diversity and opportunity. It’s a promise. It’s my promise.”
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