In 2011, Cisco fired an employee due to his views on same-sex marriage. However, the new leadership of the company has not terminated business relationships based on viewpoints. It has, however, endorsed the Equality Act, endorsed stricter gun control legislation, and matched employee donations to ideological organizations hostile to freedom of expression. Cisco does not protect employees from political viewpoint discrimination. Though the company allows for contributions to faith-based organizations, it has weaponized its PAC through ideological donations. For these reasons, Cisco Systems receives a High Risk rating.
Has denied service to customers, suppliers, or vendors due to their political views or religious beliefs OR corporately boycotts, divests, or sanctions regions, people groups, or industries.
Cisco received a score of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign. Among other requirements, this means the company has pledged to vet vendors based on LGBTQ policies (1). In 2011, Cisco terminated a contract with a high-ranking consultant for authoring a book expressing his agreement with the Biblical definition of marriage (2). Cisco has hired a new CEO since this incident, though current CEO Chuck Robbins was a senior vice president at the company at the time of the firing. However, the company later backtracked this decision, apologizing and stating that the consultant remained a vendor with the company (3).
Charitable giving (including employee matching programs) policies or practices discriminate against charitable organizations based on views or religious beliefs.
Cisco does give to religious charities, but the receiving charity must have a policy that recipients of charitable works and donations are “not encouraged or required to learn about, adhere to, or convert to that organization’s religious doctrine as a condition of receiving service from the program” (1)(2).
Employment policies fail to protect against discrimination based on political affiliation/views and/or religion.
Cisco does not protect its employees from viewpoint discrimination (1).
Uses corporate reputation to support ideological causes and/or organizations hostile to freedom of expression.
Cisco has signed an open letter supporting the Equality Act (1). Cisco’s CEO also publicly spoke out against the Georgia voting bill, and the company has joined the Civic Alliance to oppose various state-level election security laws (2)(3). Cisco offers unconscious bias training as part of its “core curriculum” for managers and employees (4)(5). CEO Chuck Robbins claimed that the company would donate $5 million to Black Lives Matter and related organizations in 2020, though there is no evidence that the company has delivered on this pledge (6). Robbins has also publicly supported stricter firearm regulation in the United States (7).
Uses corporate funds to advance ideological causes, organizations, or policies hostile to freedom of expression.
Cisco established a donation fund to “fight racism and discrimination” which funds Color of Change, the Human Rights Campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Anti-Defamation League and other ideological organizations (1).
Uses corporate political contributions for ideological, non-business purposes.
Cisco has donated to the Equality PAC (1).
All links were last accessed and all information was updated on:
March 7, 2023
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