Labor Department Seeks to Prevent Managers From Playing Politics With Pension Funds

By law, managers of employer-sponsored pension plans must act in the best interests of investors. Unfortunately, many such fiduciaries are applying an unusually broad definition. That’s why the U.S. Department of Labor has clarified the issue. On April 23, the DOL released a guidance statement intended to discourage benefit managers from applying the principle known as Environmental, Social and Governance to investment decisions. Such a practice might seem worthy, noted the department, but it may place safety and soundness in harm’s way. The action is especially a rebuke to those who see issues advocacy as a top business priority.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), alternately known as Corporate Social Responsibility, is a philosophy holding that a corporation is not only a business enterprise, but also a steward of the public good. A company, in this view, can and should be at once profitable and morally conscious. A company must … Read More ➡

‘Safe Spaces’: Workplace Radicalism with a Corporate Logo

U.S. Bank isn’t just about banking. And Greg Cunningham wants everyone to know that. Cunningham, vice president of diversity and inclusion at the Minneapolis-based institution, is busy traversing the nation, coaxing bank employees to confront their inner racism, sexism and other attitudes that get in the way of a harmonious workplace. “Transforming a culture of 67,000 people is never easy,” he says. “You have to make sure that everyone knows that there is something in this for them.”

Reprogramming of this sort is a trend. Corporations are creating on-premises ‘safe spaces’ for employees presumably at risk of harassment by managers and peers. Advocates tout the practice as fostering teamwork and ultimately profits. Don’t believe them. Under the guise of addressing a workplace morale crisis, such ‘spaces’ actually create rather than resolve employee divisiveness. It’s a variation on that national behavior modification program known as “diversity,” which has nothing to … Read More ➡