Adidas employees want the company to launch an investigation by the head of human resources to respond to racial issues

A letter addressed to three Adidas executives on June 15 asks the company’s supervisory board to investigate whether Adidas (ADDYY ADIDAS) Senior public relations chief Karen Parkin responded appropriately to racial issues within the company, according to a copy obtained from CNN Business. The letter was signed by 83 employees from the company’s five offices in Germany, the United States, Australia and Panama. The sportswear giant employs nearly 60,000 people worldwide.

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, which also owns Reebok, said in a statement that “rejects all statements” given in the employee’s letter. company he said last week has a zero tolerance policy of retaliation and has established a third party investigator to ensure that this policy is followed.

“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.”

According to her, Parkin is a longtime employee who has been the head of global human resources for more than three years. LinkedIn profile.

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.

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“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.”

After a few days of employee protests Adidas announced last week that it deals with the company’s culture several targeted actions increasing the number of people in your workforce in North America and make it your workplace more inclusive. They include a $ 120 million investment in black communities and a commitment to fill at least 30% of new jobs in North America with employees in black or Latinx. The company also denied racism and expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement on social media.
Many companies have taken similar actions in recent weeks in the middle of it a moment of national confrontation with the racial injustices caused by the death of George Floyd.
“We had to look at ourselves as individuals and our organization and think of systems that belittle and silence black individuals and communities,” Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted He said in a statement last week. “As we discuss the importance of inclusion, we need to do more to create an environment where all of our employees will feel safe, heard and have equal opportunities for career advancement.”

The company also acknowledged in last week’s announcement that its actions may be “too small, too late”.

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“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.”

At a company meeting in Boston last year, Parkin reportedly said racism was a “noise” discussed only in America, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

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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