Today, on behalf of concerned Pfizer shareholders, the ACR Project demanded that the company publicly retract a set of illegal, discriminatory policies.
Through these policies, Pfizer injects race, ethnicity, and sex into every level of its hiring and promotions, ranging from its summer internships to its top executives and directors. These policies — admitted on Pfizer’s webpage — violate state and federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and a host of state laws, including those of New York (where Pfizer headquarters) and Delaware (where it incorporated).
These Pfizer policies can be expected to draw multiple legal challenges – Do No Harm filed the first such suit seeking to enjoin one of them last week. Pfizer’s admissions should assure their success. Those cases cumulatively threaten to materially harm Pfizer’s stock value. But those cases will also carry another risk for Pfizer. Presumably, many plaintiffs will seek to enjoin Pfizer’s discrimination (as Do No Harm already has, in the context of Pfizer’s “Breakthrough Fellowship Program”). With many such requests eventually advanced to many different judges, it would be reasonable to expect a series of multiple injunctions to issue. Should those injunctions arise, their impact on Pfizer will dramatically increase, as a result of Pfizer’s D&O’s decision, in 2021, to build into the company’s $7 billion revolving credit facility “ESG KPI-linked metrics focused on our long-term corporate goals and annual targets related to … diversity, equity & inclusion[.]” Pfizer’s D&O appear to have bet the company’s access to capital on their continued pursuit of the illegal, discriminatory policies litigants will seek to enjoin. That bet threatens to raise the stakes of all the eventual cases litigated, threatening catastrophic harm to the company and to the value of its stock to shareholders.
The ACR Project has demanded that Pfizer’s officers and directors act to retract the policies within 30 business days.
You can read the full letter, below.