An auto parts maker suffered sharemarket backlash after an employee exposed inequities in a company policy that appeared to prohibit free speech on the election and encourage violence against police.
The value of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. shares dropped by nearly 6.3 percent after allegations surfaced that the business discriminates against staff who wear clothing with messages supporting President Trump. However, at the same time, their colleagues could wear items that promote anarchist anti-police protests.
At the start of trading on Aug. 19, Goodyear shares were worth $9.76 per unit, and just three hours later, their value fell to $9.15 but recovered somewhat later in the day according to the NASDAQ website.
Several decreases in Goodyear’s share price throughout the day appeared to coincide with President Donald Trump’s social media post, which encouraged supporters to stop purchasing products and services from the company since management does not want the incumbent to win the upcoming election on Nov. 3.
“Do not buy Goodyear tires—they announced a ban on Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats,” the president said on Twitter. “Get better tires for far less, this is what the radical left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now.”
The remarks came after a Goodyear employee, who reportedly works for the company’s Topeka plant, circulated a “zero tolerance” corporate presentation that lists what messages staff are allowed to display on their clothing.
Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, MAGA attire, and “political affiliated slogans or material” were all banned. On the other hand, Black Lives Matter (BLM) and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender pride were “acceptable” according to the slide shared on Twitter.
This inequity upset the anonymous employee because he believed the policy could constitute workplace-sanctioned discrimination.
“If someone wants to wear a BLM shirt in here then cool, I am not going to get offended about it. But, at the same time, if someone is not going to be able to wear something that is politically based—even in the farthest stretch of the imagination—that is discriminatory,” he said, according to WIBW-TV. “If we are talking about equality then it needs to be equality. If not, it is discrimination.”
When the company responded to these concerns, a representative admitted the slide was authentic, and management does prohibit staff from wearing MAGA attire while, at the same time, allowing colleagues to wear BLM clothing.
“Goodyear has zero-tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination [and,] to enable a work environment free of those, we ask that associates refrain from workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party as well as similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues,” the company said on Twitter. “Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so. These are not mutually exclusive.”