Saturday, July 31, 2010

Threatening First Interstate Bank ('94)

When First Interstate Bank (now part of Wells Fargo) removed sexual orientation from their non-discrimination policy, I wrote the letter below. They did rescind the change.

[My best letter (so far) on gay rights]

Bruce Willison, President and CEO
First Interstate Bank
707 Wilshire Blvd., M.S. W25-1
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Dear Mr. Willison,

I am a long-time, generally satisfied First Interstate customer. In fact, as my checks tell the world, you consider me a "time-honored" customer. Hence, it deeply saddens me to hear about the recent changes to your employment non-discrimination policy.

I have read Ken Preston's January 25 letter to George Kronenberger, and I find it completely unacceptable. With regard to sexual orientation discrimination, all you are now saying is, "We obey the law." Well, I should hope so, but you should be ashamed to proclaim this as your only corporate policy on the question. It provides no protection at all for your gay and lesbian employees or applicants in jurisdictions without external governmental protection.

Unless you quickly re-instate protection against sexual orientation discrimination for employees of all units of First Interstate world-wide, I will begin transferring my business elsewhere, I will close my account, and I will encourage others to do the same.

It should not take these kinds of threats to make you act. All you need to do is ask yourself what is the right thing to do for your employees, and make your corporate policies reflect that. It's an easy question with an easy answer. I hope to hear that you have figured it out.

Sincerely yours,

Rodney Hoffman

cc: Edward Carson, First Interstate Bancorp
George Kronenberger, NGLTF

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