Epic defends diversity, equity and inclusion efforts after leaked recording

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Epic is defending its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts after a leaked recording was released of an executive who said Epic wasn't a platform to fight for social causes, The Wisconsin State Journal reported Oct. 21.

Epic's leaders met in summer 2020 to discuss the role of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council's in assisting Epic's employees amid Black Lives Matter protests worldwide. A minutelong recording from the meeting was posted to Reddit Oct. 18. 

Five things to know:

  1. Carl Dvorak, president of Epic, said in the recording, "I can see that sometimes there's gonna be an effort to be lobbyists or to kind of groupthink, 'Let's band together and force the company.' I don't see that as part of a role for DEI. If anything, I actually see this team's partial responsibility is to expunge that from the workplace. Refocus people to go to their community efforts around those topics, those issues, but not to allow, or to encourage, or even to turn a blind eye to misuse of company time and resources. It's OK to have passions, but not here. This isn't the platform to fight for your social cause."

  2. Jesse McCormick, a member of Epic's project management team and leader of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, was at the meeting where the recording was leaked. She told the Wisconsin State Journal that her takeaway from the meeting was that leadership was excited to "move forward with equity and inclusion."

  3. Ms. McCormick told the newspaper Epic has made progress on its diversity committee's goals and in April, the council drafted six core values to uphold its initiatives.

  4. The values include statements such as "Diversity, equity and inclusion is a journey; Examine your beliefs and assumptions and embrace a continuous learning mindset"; and "Seek to recognize, understand, and appreciate the value of others’ perspectives, backgrounds and experiences," according to the newspaper.

  5. Ms. McCormick told the publication Epic has four classes that teach how to manage a diverse team and carry out Epic's diversity initiatives. Some classes are mandatory, while others are capped at 25 participants, she said.

    "We are absolutely expecting all staff to participate in this material," Ms. McCormick told the publication.

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