Statement by Rev. Kurt Kuhwald at Home Depot Annual Meeting
by Rev. Kurt Kuhwald on behalf of the
Unitarian Universalist Association
Home Depot Annual Meeting; Atlanta, GA; May 30, 2001
Mr.Chairman, fellow shareholders, my name is Rev. Kurt Kuhwald. I am here on behalf of the Unitarian Universalist Association [UUA] and its shareholder proposal requesting that our company, Home Depot, amend its written equal employment Policy to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and to substantially implement this policy. Our resolution by the UUA was submitted with the express support of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility located in New York City and Walden Asset Management, with whom we participated in the filing on Equal Employment Diversity Reporting. We want to thank you for addressing these important initiatives, and for allowing me to come here today to express our appreciation for the outstanding progress that our company has made. We want to extend our heartfelt thanks.
We also want to express our appreciation for your adoption of the important new language in the revised Home Depot equal employment opportunity policy. The second sentence now reads: "The Home Depot will not discriminate against any associate or applicant with regard to race, color, gender, [and the next, the addition we were concerned about adding] sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, disability or any characteristic protected by applicable law."
We want to thank you because through the implementation steps you have undertaken, you join with many other major companies that recognize the importance of full inclusiveness and fuller disclosure of inclusiveness in personnel practices and EEO Reporting. You are further to be commended because your policies include, but will not be limited to:
- A memo already distributed by email from Robert Nardelli, CEO, to all associates announcing the adoption of the new policy within hours of the receipt of our withdrawal of the resolution asking for such a new policy;
- Revision of policy statements on our Company's internet site for associates;
- Inclusion of an insert to the materials that are distributed to all new associates during orientation informing them of the revised policy;
- Instituting specific pre-conditions to our mutual agreement reflected in our May 11th memorandum of understanding with Suzanne Apple, Vice President Community Affairs and Social Responsibility, whereby our shareholder resolution was withdrawn, and among which was your willingness to provide us with copies of both these policy statements and other related materials that are provided to all associates including those newly hired.
- And, finally, the revised equal employment opportunity policy, just as with your other policies, will be published in materials containing an introductory statement that is not a contract and does not modify the terms and conditions of any associate benefits.
It gives me great pleasure to represent the 200,000 members of our Association in offering our thanks and to commend you on these forward thinking actions.
Thank you very much.