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Coca-Cola Racial Quotas For Outside Counsel Fizzle Out After General Counsel Reassignment

Coca-Cola Racial Quotas For Outside Counsel Fizzle Out After General Counsel Reassignment

The ex-General Counsel who devised the possibly illegal quotas reportedly received a $4 million payout and is now a special consultant to Coca-Cola earning $666,666 per month for a year. That works out to $12 million this year for screwing up. Woke failure pays well.

What do Coca-Cola and academia have in common? Failure is rewarded, so long as you are woke.

Bradley Gayton failed in less than a year as General Counsel at Coca-Cola. While not all the details are known, Gayton’s imposition of racial quotas on outside law firms doing work for Coca-Cola was an unmitigated public relations disaster, building on Coke flubs in attacking the Georgia voter integrity law, and employee training how to “be less white.”

We covered the quota controversy in these posts:

The racial quotas also were potential legal liabilities. After Gayton’s departure, the Project on Fair Representation sent a letter to Gayton’s successor calling on Coca-Cola to end the quotas:

Today, the Project on Fair Representation sent a letter to Monica Howard Douglas, Coca-Cola’s new General Counsel, urging the company to rescind the recently announced policy that requires all outside law firms hired by the company to meet racial quotas in staffing Coca-Cola matters.

The law firm of Boyden Gray & Associates, a Washington D.C.-based litigation and public policy boutique, authored the letter. The letter is attached.

The current Coca-Cola company policy states that if a law firm fails to comply with meeting the quotas, it faces a non-refundable 30% reduction in fees and may be shut out entirely.

Coca-Cola’s stated goal is that the legal teams it hires “be representative of the population it serves,” and the policy’s minimum racial quotas therefore roughly track the racial distribution of the American population at large, rather than the labor market for attorneys.

The abrupt departure last week of Bradley Gayton after less than a year as General Counsel suggests that Coca-Cola is already aware that its racial quota requirements on outside firms are indefensible. Coca-Cola should act swiftly to publicly undo this unfair, polarizing, and illegal policy. Without a public statement forthcoming from Coca-Cola reversing these quotas, it must be assumed that the policy is still in effect and legal challenges may be forthcoming.

Edward Blum, president of the Project on Fair Representation, said, “It is obvious to all observers that Coca-Cola’s recently enacted law firm contracting policies are illegal. The company should publicly withdraw these racial quota requirements immediately.”

Lo and behold, Coca-Cola is “pausing” the quota program, the NY Post reports:

Woke Coke has gone flat.

Coca-Cola has paused its controversial diversity plan — that included penalties on outside law firms if they failed to meet racial diversity quotas — after intense backlash.

The pause comes after the orchestrator of the plan, Coke’s former general counsel Bradley Gayton, abruptly resigned last month after less than a year on the job and as criticism of the quotas mounted.

Some questioned whether Gayton’s policies violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says employers can’t treat people differently based on their race.

Scott Leith, a spokesman for Coke, said Gayton’s replacement, Monica Howard Douglas, is now reviewing the plan.

“When there is a leadership change, it takes time for the new leader to review the current status of the team, organization and initiatives,” he said. “Monica is fully committed to the notions of equity and diversity in the legal profession, and we fully expect she will take the time necessary to thoughtfully review any plans going forward.”

Don’t cry for Gayton, he reportedly received a $4 million payout and is now a special consultant to Coca-Cola earning $666,666 per month for a year. That works out to $12 million this year for screwing up.

Woke failure pays well.


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Critical Racist Theory is founded on diversity [dogma], not limited to racism, inequity, and exclusion. #BabyLivesMatter

The infamous training materials read “… try to be less white…”

Well, this particular Caucasian is entering the midpoint of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, so I fully expect to be tan soon. Does that count?

The Friendly Grizzly | May 5, 2021 at 8:17 pm

Gayton will land a job as Vice President in charge of DIE at Target, Starbucks, Netflix, or Google.

    casualobserver in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | May 5, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    I have little doubt his stock has never been higher in the many woke boardrooms. Coke is paying him no-sue money, and when that ends the bidder war for him will start. Martyrdom added to proper viewpoint is priceless.

      alohahola in reply to casualobserver. | May 5, 2021 at 11:02 pm

      I don’t understand

      WHAT does Gayton have to offer?

      And WHAT does he have on Coke?

        He has the ability to sell more cola than any brand in the world, as well as a legal mind worthy of one of the world’s largest corporations.

        That has to be why they hired him, right?

        Just curious: does anybody know what this guy did day to day in the legal department of Woka-Cola? Or was he just hired as window dressing?

        Lucifer Morningstar in reply to alohahola. | May 6, 2021 at 8:24 am

        Grayton had his race to offer. Why? The Board probably suspected that this discriminatory plan they devised for “outside counsel” wasn’t going to go over well and that if things got bad enough they could simply “blame the crazy black guy” for the plan and drop it like the hot potato it becme.

        And he doesn’t have “anything” on Coke. The money is just probably the “golden parachute” money that they agree to pay if the Board ended up firing him and they are simply paying off his contract as agreed. Nothing nefarious there.

        Ben Kent in reply to alohahola. | May 6, 2021 at 8:34 am

        Something is seriously wrong when an idiot like this is able to rise to the highest executive level of a top corporation.

        Anything for the sake of diversity (meaning having the right skin color in the corporate photos). Hiring on the basis of skin color and not for skills or talent is RACIST.

        Virginia42 in reply to alohahola. | May 6, 2021 at 1:11 pm

        Maybe he knows the secret formula…

      Owego in reply to casualobserver. | May 6, 2021 at 7:18 am

      Exactly. His services as an “independent” director will be sought after by many corporations. (Anyone besides me think he looks like Jesse L. Martin?)

    CapeBuffalo in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | May 6, 2021 at 3:09 am

    Sorry fat finger,

    Percussive Sublimation.. I read about this as a subset of the Peter Principle.

    Seems like this guy keeps getting kicked upstairs..

    I wonder why? No.. I know why.

The issue is Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 since you are talking about contracts with non-employees. Still, it was a bonehead program – and patently illegal.

    They figured out that it’s illegal when leading law firms who might qualify for a Coke contract were not going to be shy about that point. The GC “reassignment” is all the proof we need of that clear fact.

    The fact that Coke felt powerful and entitled enough to use its considerable economic power to force independent law firms to “wokeness” is far more worrying. That they got slapped down is cause for celebration.

Halcyon Daze | May 5, 2021 at 8:25 pm

Bought my last CC product in 2012.

    MajorWood in reply to Halcyon Daze. | May 5, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    Swapped barqs for A&W, Sprite for 7-UP, probably giving up Fresca for the occasional San Pelegrino, but Minute Maid is the hard one as no other vendor makes the small non-refrigerated bottles. Will need to research that one a bit, plus they just hiked the prices on it by 20%.

Woke-a-Cola will just move their SJW/CRT/BLM program back underground. In the deep corporate shadows. Where it already was.

The public wasn’t quite ready yet for Full Woke Coke to come out of the closet. But that time will come. Soon.

Plug one hole and the crowd will open another. Now SecDef is saying we need diversity in the leadership ranks of the military.
Probably the ones most useful for filling the rail cars and “showers” without complaint. Doing their duty so to speak.
I consider him to be America’s first affirmative action SecDef.

iconotastic | May 5, 2021 at 10:46 pm

“ Monica is fully committed to the notions of equity and diversity in the legal profession”

Another tribal hire who will do the same thing under the covers as this idiot.

Time to take back the language. Awake is much more cool and and “mindful” than woke, which is pure newspeak.

Racial quotas are illegal. Didn’t anyone tell the geniuses at woke-a-cola that?

    henrybowman in reply to Ironclaw. | May 6, 2021 at 4:26 am

    Well, there’s illegal, and there’s “illegal, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.” And the more you have to deal with it as an American corporation with government contracts and government regulation, the easier it is to forget that most of it is still “wink-wink, nudge-nudge.”

    Owego in reply to Ironclaw. | May 6, 2021 at 7:31 am

    Pretty much. The prevailing, winning argument everywhere is that without quotas we can’t achieve diversity from which will flow equity. So, quotas are okay.

The Board and CEO entirely support what Gayton did, they just find the current situation embarrassing so they cut him loose.

It is inconceivable he set such quotas without the full knowledge and approval of the CEO,the Chairman if different from CEO, and the executive Board if not the entire Board. Anyway, you don’t pay $666,666/month to someone with whom you have a serious problem.

He was rewarded.

Lucifer Morningstar | May 6, 2021 at 8:16 am

Coca Cola Inc. not only needs to completely eliminate all aspects of Gayton’s racial quota plan but they should also send out a letter of apology to every outside law firm that does business with Coca Cola acknowledging that the plan was both wrong and illegal and that all aspects of this ill-advised plan are going to be immediately dropped.

texansamurai | May 6, 2021 at 10:14 am

in a rational world, this clown would have been given a coca-cola mousepad in settlement and then escorted off the premises

I have to wonder if the wokester charlatan grifters asked Coke to back off, as this development would actually be bad for business.

How can they racially blackmail businesses if they achieve “diversity.”

I don’t think you have the full story.

Think about this at an operational level. Many firms could not comply, so if your using some firm that is REALLY good at say patents or licensing- you can’t just switch because that intellectual / operational know-how resides at the racially non-compliant firm.

In many cases it’s really co-employment (also not legal), because the outside firms are essentially coke employees- because all they do is work on coke and as directed by coke. In this area I’m a subject matter expert and I know from experience that when you disrupt a labor supplier system- the internal forces that be are going to be really pissed. They will come for your head. I suspect this was the actual case and when combined with the legal issues, the anger among some customers (like us) that they chose to make a sacrifice.

I wonder two things about Gayton: How he’d react to being told to take classes on how to be “less black,” and whether he has the cognitive heft to resolve a quadratic equation.

The most incredible aspect to this story is the sheer legal incompetence of Gayton. He has no idea of the law in the subject he was employed for. Yet they still pay this destructive bumbler $12M a year.

I am troubled by phrases such as “reviewing the plan.” The Plan had deadlines and quarterly goals. Has the plan been suspended? Has Coca Cola sent out a letter apologizing to its law firms? What about other vendors such as accounting firms, litigation support firms, or IT support vendors? Did the “partner in charge” of the Coke account have to be black?