Grubhub CEO: Agree or Resign?

The CEO of Grubhub had a tough message for employees who disagree with his anti-Trump sentiment: "you have no place here." After the election, Matt Maloney wrote an email about tolerance and inclusion. He expressed his disappointment in Trump's election, particularly his "demeaning, insulting and ridiculing minorities, immigrants and the physically/mentally disabled" and his "nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics."

He went a step further at the end of the email:

"If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here. We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team. I want to repeat what Hillary said this morning, that the new administration deserves our open minds and a chance to lead, but never stop believing that the fight for what's right is worth it."

Media reports and social media responses interpreted Maloney's message as a threat: anyone who voted for Trump should resign.

Maloney has responded that his email was misinterpreted:

"I want to clarify that I did not ask for anyone to resign if they voted for Trump. I would never make such a demand. To the contrary, the message of the email is that we do not tolerate discriminatory activity or hateful commentary in the workplace, and that we will stand up for our employees."

This distinction is important; otherwise, the company may be discriminating against people based on political views.

Discussion Starters:

  • Read Maloney's full message to employees and his statement. How do you interpret his original message and the explanation?
  • Should Maloney have sent the email to employees? What are the benefits and risks to the company and to him personally?
  • Could Maloney have revised the email to avoid the controversy? How so?