Redfin CEO Slack Message on Affirmative Action Ruling

Redfin CEO Slack Message on Affirmative Action Ruling


In response to employee questions about how the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling would affect Redfin’s diversity policies, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman posted this message to a Slack channel for all employees.

The Court’s Ruling Doesn’t Apply to Redfin

Many Redfin employees have asked us about Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina. The ruling is limited to colleges that get federal funding, not businesses. Unlike colleges, Redfin does not and will not apply different hiring criteria to applicants based on their race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. We don’t and won’t consider those factors when evaluating an individual’s performance. Our new-hire training, manager training and leadership-development program are for all employees. 

We Make Data-Driven Decisions About Groups of People, Not Individuals

When we have data that indicates a large group of employees over many years is less likely to get promoted or more likely to quit, including Black real estate agents or managers of color, we work to solve that problem, often by developing a program focused on that problem. This is the oldest rhythm in human endeavors, to identify a problem and then to solve it. It isn’t driven by preconceived notions about race or gender, or an obligation to right historical wrongs. But neither is it willfully blind to the ancient, tribal ways groups of people can make decisions and work together. We have to be careful and thoughtful about being fair.

We Don’t Care if Diversity is Fashionable or Unfashionable

The law will always support that. Beyond the law, last week’s ruling may signal a shift in American culture away from diversity. As a real estate company, we won’t be a part of any such shift. Our diversity is foundational to making housing accessible to all. If, as part of this shift, businesses’ commitment to diversity becomes less trendy and more substantive, with less rhetoric and more results, I’ll be relieved. We don’t support diversity at Redfin because diversity is popular, or to tell people that we tried. We do it because the most basic obligations of power are to be welcoming and fair. In the courts and in our conscience, that’s what we’ll be accountable for.

Glenn Kelman

Glenn Kelman

Glenn is the CEO of Redfin. Prior to joining Redfin, he was a co-founder of Plumtree Software, a Sequoia-backed, publicly traded company that created the enterprise portal software market. In his seven years at Plumtree, Glenn at different times led engineering, marketing, product management, and business development; he also was responsible for financing and general operations in Plumtree's early days. Prior to starting Plumtree, Glenn worked as one of the first employees at Stanford Technology Group, a Sequoia-backed start-up acquired by IBM. Glenn was raised in Seattle and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a regular contributor to the Redfin blog and Twitter.

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