Levi Strauss

Dockers
California
Consumer Durables and Apparel

Corprate Bias Ratings

Risk Level:

Rating - Danger
High Risk

In 2022, Levi Strauss notably forced out a high-ranking executive from the company for her personal opposition to closing down schools during COVID-19. By complying with Human Rights Campaign's controversial demands, Levi Strauss increases the risk of dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. The company covers transgender-related medical costs for its employees and their children and provides specific sexual orientation and gender identity-based benefits. It also uses sex and gender ideology criteria in employee recruitment, vendor selection, marketing, and philanthropic support. Levi Strauss forces employees to undergo multiple ideological trainings and uses its reputation, corporate funds, and political influence to support controversial sex and gender ideologies, organizations, and legislation. Levi Strauss provides a benefits package for employees which covers travel/lodging costs for an abortion and does not protect its employees against viewpoint discrimination. Levi Strauss discriminates against religious organizations in its charitable giving while also donating to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood. The company regularly uses its corporate reputation to speak out on a variety of issues, ranging from LGBTQ advocacy to immigration reform, gun control, abortion, and more. The company is committed to carbon neutrality by 2040. Levi Strauss is a member of the "Don't Ban Equality" coalition. For these reasons, Levi Strauss receives a High Risk rating.

Criteria
Risk Level
Rationale
Corporate Weaponization
Criteria

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.

Risk Level
Rationale

Levi Strauss received a score of 100 on the 2023 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a political stakeholder group. The company recruits employees based on sexual identity issues. The company discriminates against vendors that do not promote divisive sex and gender policies, indicating it prioritizes sexual issues over merit (1)(2). In early 2022, former executive Jennifer Sey stated she was “bullied” out of the company for opposing school shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic (3). She turned down a $1 million severance offer in order to retain her right to share her opinions and story about the persecution she received for her viewpoints.

Criteria

Charitable giving (including employee matching programs) policies or practices discriminate against charitable organizations based on views or religious beliefs.

Risk Level
Rationale

Levi Strauss’s HRC CEI rating indicates the company will not donate to non-religious charities unless they embrace controversial sexual identity policies (1)(2). Levi Strauss will not fund “sectarian or religious activities” (3)(4).

Criteria

Employment policies fail to protect against discrimination based on political affiliation/views and/or religion.

Risk Level
Rationale

Levi Strauss’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company forces employees to attend multiple, controversial trainings on gender identity, sexual orientation, transgender issues, and divisive racial ideology. The company provides gender transition guidelines for its employees and a specific benefits guide with a comprehensive explanation of transgender services funded by the company (1)(2). Levi Strauss does not provide viewpoint protections for its employees (3)(4).

Corporate Governance and Public Policy
Criteria

Uses corporate reputation to support ideological causes and/or organizations hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

Levi Strauss’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company agrees to allow a controversial stakeholder group focused on sexual identity issues to dictate marketing or advertising strategy (1)(2). By doing so, the company risks dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. Levi Strauss signed an open letter in support of the Equality Act (3) The company opposed various state and local legislation intended to protect parental rights, girls’ sports, bathroom facilities, and gendered spaces (4)(5). Levi Strauss opposed the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, which would prohibit teaching gender identity and sexual orientation to kids in K-3rd grade (6). CEO Charles “Chip” Bergh wrote a letter in support of more restrictive gun control efforts and is a signatory to CEOs For Gun Safety (7)(8). Bergh has also criticized state-level election security laws, particularly in Texas and Georgia, calling them “racist” (9). Levi Strauss hosts voluntary “unconscious bias” training for all employees and advocates for immigration reform (10)(11). The company created a gender-free collection in 2022 in support of LGBTQ causes and is a Ceres Network Member, committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2040 (12)(13)(14). Levi Strauss has also publicized its support of a letter condemning the Department of Health “threatening to narrow the definition of gender” and of the Adams Amicus Brief (15). The company is a member of the “Don’t Ban Equality” business coalition, which advocates against any abortion restrictions because they are “bad for business” (16).

Criteria

Uses corporate funds to advance ideological causes, organizations, or policies hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

Levi Strauss provides a benefits package for employees which covers travel/lodging costs for an abortion (1)(2). The company stated, “Business leaders are responsible for protecting the health and well-being of our employees, and that includes protecting reproductive rights and abortion access” (3). Levi Strauss’ HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company covers transgender related costs for its employees and their children, including paid short-term leave, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, chest surgeries, genital surgeries, medical visits and lab monitoring, travel and lodging. Additionally, the company has pledged philanthropic support of at least one organization or event that promotes sex and gender ideology (4)(5). By allowing a political stakeholder group to dictate operations, the company increases health care costs and risks dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. The company has donated to Planned Parenthood (6)(7)(8). Levi Strauss has pledged $37 million to the Black Lives Matter movement and related causes, including the ACLU (9)(10).

Criteria

Uses corporate political contributions for ideological, non-business purposes.

Risk Level
Rationale

Levi Strauss’s HRC 2023 CEI rating indicates the company publicly advocated for controversial sex and gender ideology through local, state or federal legislation or initiatives (1)(2). By allowing a political stakeholder group to dictate operations, the company risks dividing employees, alienating customers and harming shareholders. Levi Strauss does not operate a PAC at this time and has not used its lobbying for ideological purposes (3)(4).

All links were last accessed and all information was updated on:
February 29, 2024

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