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:
- Coca-Cola Imposes Racial Quotas On Outside Counsel Staffing
- Coca-Cola General Counsel Who Imposed Racial Quotas On Outside Counsel Loses Position
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.
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