Southwest Airlines

Texas
Transportation

Corprate Bias Ratings

Risk Level:

Rating - Danger
High Risk

A jury recently ruled that Southwest's termination of an employee for her pro-life views amounted to religious discrimination. Southwest Airlines does not protect employees from viewpoint discrimination. The company covers the cost of "medically necessary transition-related care" for its employees and their children. The company supports the Equality Act and funds multiple LGBTQ groups. Southwest also partners with the HRC and issued a statement opposing state-level election security laws. For these reasons, Southwest Airlines 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

A jury awarded a flight attendant a victory over Southwest and the Transportation Workers Union of America after she claimed she had been fired in 2017 for her pro-life views and criticizing the union for supporting pro-abortion protests (1)(2). The company received a score of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Among other requirements, this means the company has pledged to vet vendors based on LGBTQ policies (3)(4). Southwest complied with the federal vaccine mandate but did not appear to fire any employees and made accommodations for unvaccinated staff (5)(6). In October 2021, one of Southwest’s pilots allegedly said a political slogan criticizing President Biden over a plane intercom. The pilot was not fired by Southwest (7).

Criteria

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

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines focuses its charitable giving on disaster relief, environmental sustainability, military families, and serious illness. It does not seem to prohibit financial donations to religious charities (1). However, it should be noted that the company’s e-pass ticket service for nonprofits excludes “religious endeavors.” It is unclear if this provision extends to faith-based charities (2).

Criteria

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

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines does not provide viewpoint protections for its employees (1).

Corporate Governance and Public Policy
Criteria

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

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines has signed an open letter in support of the Equality Act (1). The company has also issued a statement broadly opposing state-level election security laws (2).

Criteria

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

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines has a perfect score on the HRC’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index. This score indicates the company covers the cost of “medically necessary transition-related care” for its employees and their children (1)(2). Southwest Airlines has partnerships with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the HRC (3). The company is also a corporate partner of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (4).

Criteria

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

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines has not used its political contributions for ideological purposes (1)(2)(3).

All links were last accessed and all information was updated on:
November 28, 2023

Company reports are intended for educational use only. Full Disclaimer

Voting History

Date
ESG Category
Proponent
Summary of ResolutionMgmt RecTotal Vote % in Favor
5/17/23GovernanceJohn CheveddenImprove Right to Remove Unqualified DirectorsAgainst53.00%
5/17/23GovernanceKenneth SteinerShareholder Ratification of Termination PayAgainst10.30%
5/18/22GovernanceJohn CheveddenAdopt Majority Vote Cast to Remove Directors With or Without CauseAgainst47.50%
5/18/22GovernanceKenneth SteinerShareholder Ratification of Termination PayAgainst40.91%
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