Epic told employees to stop diversity, equity discussion groups, some workers say 

Jackie Drees - Print  | 

Some Epic employees claimed that the Verona, Wis.-based EHR company has told them to stop holding discussion groups related to diversity, equity and inclusion during work hours and has canceled a training session on identifying white privilege, Wisconsin State Journal reports. 

In a statement emailed from the EHR company to Becker's March 1, Epic CEO Judy Faulkner said "Since our company's founding, we have been committed to promoting a culture at Epic that appreciates and strongly supports diversity. We have always welcomed staff from all walks of life." 

Epic, which comprises 10,000 employees, does not have a chief diversity officer or other executive to oversee equity and inclusion within its workforce, according to the report. Instead, Epic has a diversity council that consists of five employees who all work in their regular full-time jobs at the software company. Epic launched the diversity council last year after national protests against racial injustice. 

Five employees who spoke to the Wisconsin State Journal and one former employee said they worked beyond their assigned roles to try and make Epic's software and internal culture more equitable, and that their efforts were unsupported by management. The five employees spoke to the publication under the condition of anonymity. 

"There was always this sense that it's not important," said Emily Kwan, who was fired from her customer support position last fall. The five current employees also said Epic has canceled training opportunities on diversity, equity and inclusion without immediately replacing them. 

In a separate statement provided by Epic, Jesse McCormick, Epic diversity council member, said staff contribute and work on projects that aim to foster "an inclusive and equitable work environment" and that if employees have concerns, they can bring them to their manager or the diversity council. 

Epic employees are required to take a diversity and inclusion course as part of orientation, and managers also must take a course on managing diverse teams, Ms. McCormick said. The company's trainers are building another course available to all employees in response to staff calls to prioritize equity and inclusion. The new course is expected to be available in March, according to Ms. McCormick. 

"The course is designed to be relevant for each role, and it includes Epic-specific information for incident reporting and escalation processes, internal support and resources, and external resources like the Employee Assistance Program," Ms. McCormick said. 

 

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