Tech Policy

The Rationale for and Key Elements of a Business Civil Rights Audit

The Rationale for and Key Elements of a Business Civil Rights Audit

In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in 2020, about two-thirds of S&P 500 companies made statements in support of the need for more inclusive practices and racial justice. At the same time, the movement to disclose data on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) to investors, customers, and other stakeholders has prompted many companies to examine equity in their practices.

In this context, civil rights audits are proving to be key tools to help companies track inclusion and equity while also improving business. Nevertheless, some executives are reluctant to conduct an audit for fear that it will reveal problems that could harm their company’s brand.

In this webinar, Laura Murphy and Roy L. Austin, Jr. speak to Joint Center President Spencer Overton about why civil rights audits are critical for companies, when they should be conducted, the effects of Facebook’s civil rights audit, and the future of civil rights audits at other companies.

Laura W. Murphy is a business consultant and a national civil rights leader who pioneered the process for conducting civil rights audits of businesses. Her groundbreaking audits of Airbnb in 2016 and Facebook in 2020 led to significant reforms at those companies, and her report “The Rationale for and Key Elements of a Business Civil Rights Audit” details why companies should conduct an independent civil rights audit and provides a roadmap for doing so.

Roy L. Austin, Jr., a nationally renowned civil rights attorney and advocate, joined Meta (formerly known as Facebook) in January 2021 to establish the company’s civil rights team (a recommendation of Murphy’s audit). In setting up the civil rights division at Meta, Austin is playing an incredibly important role in charting out the future of civil rights in the tech industry and large companies globally.

Listen to the webinar below.