Merck Signs Supreme Court Brief: For Inclusion And Diversity

Bloomberg Business Week is reporting this morning that Merck signed the amici brief filed by Chicago’s Jenner & Block, in the pending Supreme Court review of whether gender-, color-and background conscious admission, hiring and promotion policies are still constitutionally-permissible, thus:

. . . .Some of the biggest corporations in America say that having a diverse payroll helps boost sales, and they want the Supreme Court to keep that in mind as it considers this term’s affirmative-action case. The justices heard oral arguments on Oct. 10 that addressed whether the University of Texas may favor racial minorities in admissions. Aetna (AET), Dow Chemical (DOW), General Electric (GE), Halliburton (HAL), Merck (MRK), Microsoft (MSFT), Northrop Grumman (NOC), Procter & Gamble (PG), Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), Xerox (XRX), and 47 other companies filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the case has bottom-line business implications as well. . . .

Merck says having people of South Asian and Arab descent on the payroll has helped drive sales. The company had anticipated that Muslim women would be hesitant to use its Gardasil, a vaccine that protects against the virus that causes cervical cancer. So, Merck told the court in the brief, it “sought the assistance of its Muslim employees in obtaining halal certification”—the Islamic equivalent of the kosher stamp of approval—for the vaccine. “Having a diverse workforce helped us get this product to market faster and ensure that it would be well-received by customers around the world,” says Bruce Kuhlik, Merck’s executive vice president and general counsel. . . .

I could write volumes here, on the value of inclusion and diversity in the emerging multinational workforce, but I’ll refrain. I’ll just say “Kudos here go to CEO/Chair Ken Frazier, and the Merck HR team!”

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