Case 35: Kodak Reverse Discrimination
Part (4) - Intolerance of Diversity of Opinion

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kodaquotas_sml.gif (6057 bytes) (4) Kodak's Intolerance

Web Posted July 18, 2003
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NEWS UPDATE - On Jan. 19, 2012 Kodak filed for bankruptcy. The once mighty photo giant -- which pioneered high quality film and inexpensive cameras for the masses -- succumbed to competition from digitial media and was slow to adapt to the changing, digital market. One has to wonder if Kodak would have fared better if it had paid more attention to running its business, and to hiring the best qualified employees without regard to their race, gender or sexual orientation. -- Editor.

Kodak Raises Intolerance to a New Level

          The two news accounts below clearly portray the clash between a conservative Christian Kodak employee's closely held beliefs, and Kodak's wide-open "support any non-white, non-hetero, non-male" diversity regime.

          The case of Rolf Szabo vs. Kodak superficially involves an employee's polite objection to Kodak's enthusiastic promotion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered lifestyles in the workplace.

          At a deeper level, however, Szabo vs. Kodak clearly depicts Kodak's totalitarian suppression (NOT inclusion) of all things which are conservative, Caucasian, male, heterosexual, European, and Christian.

          Adversity.Net has excerpted two excellent reports about the Rolf Szabo vs. Kodak incident, below.  WorldNetDaily and FrontPageMag both present valuable insights into the Kodaquota Culture of Exclusion.

KodaQuota Story Index:


Diversity of Opinion NOT Allowed
Part I
Based in part on the Joe Kovacs article "Kodak fires man over 'gay' stance"
in WorldNetDaily.com Oct. 24, 2002

Kodak Park street entrance
Street entrance at Kodak Park manufacturing site
Rolf Szabo has worked as a millwright for Kodak for 23 years. 

He is straight, white, male and a conservative Christian.

He is also over 40 years old.   Can you say endangered species?

          Rolf Szabo was fired for politely objecting to a Kodak memo promoting a gay and lesbian "Coming Out Day" at Kodak's Rochester, NY headquarters. 

          Kodak calls their program for imposing politically correct thought upon its employees their "Winning & Inclusive Culture" program.  The alleged purpose is to foster a certain type of diversity in the Kodak workplace.  As you will see, Kodak's "Winning & Inclusive Culture" program does not tolerate diversity of opinions or viewpoints.

          Immediately below is the emailed memo from Kodak to which Mr. Szabo objected in the politest terms.

Text of Kodak Memo, re:  "Coming Out Day"

          Today, Oct. 11, is the Human Rights Campaign's 15th annual National Coming Out Day for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered.  If one of your employees elects to "come out" at work, there are several things you can do to help that person feel comfortable in sharing his/her orientation in the workplace:

  • Be supportive of the individual who wishes to share this information.
  • Acknowledge his/her courage to publicly share this personal information.
  • Respect the individual's privacy. Understand how broadly he/she wishes the information to be shared.
  • Acknowledge your level of awareness of this topic, and share your personal willingness to understand.

          What can supervisors do in the work environment to support their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered employees who wish to be "out" to their supervisor or co-workers?

  • Be sensitive to the employee's language in defining their personal orientation.
  • Support the employee in displaying appropriate personal photos in the work setting.
  • Recognize and respect that not all (gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered) employees find it OK to be out at work. They should not be questioned or harassed about their sexual orientation.
  • Act quickly and responsibly if any anti-gay humor or negative comments are made in the workplace.

[Referring to the last two bullets, above, the memo continues]:

          Keep in mind that such behaviors violate Kodak's Values as well as Kodak's Equal Opportunity Employment Policy, which all supervisors are responsible for maintaining in their areas.  Specific examples are cited in your "Call to Action" training materials.   Reported violations of this policy are to be thoroughly investigated.  If verified, disciplinary action is to be taken.

          Since the Kodak memo had been emailed, and since it included all the recipients' email addresses, Mr. Szabo was able to immediately send an emailed reply to all recipients (over 1,000 employees).  Mr. Szabo's memo was short, direct, and inoffensive:

Text of employee Ralph Szabo's emailed response:

          "Please do not send this type of information to me anymore, as I find it disgusting and offensive.  Thank you."

-- Rolf Szabo

          Szabo didn't use any anti-gay epithets or slurs.  Many, many Americans share Mr. Szabo's distaste for the particular lifestyle that Kodak was promoting.  Many others don't.  But there isn't room at Kodak for people who don't approve of these lifestyles.

          According to the WorldNetDaily report, Kodak manager Randy Bakel quickly responded by sending another email to all the recipients in which he let it be known officially that Mr. Szabo was not getting with the "Winning & Inclusive" spirit of things, and that Kodak did not support Mr. Szabo's right to a different viewpoint:

Text of Kodak manager Randy Bakel's memo
apologizing for Szabo's "insensitive" remarks:

          As you all know, our strategic thrust to build a Winning & Inclusive Culture drives us to behave in ways that value everyone regardless of differences.  While I understand that we are all free to have our own personal beliefs, when we come to the Kodak workplace, our behaviors must align with the Kodak Values. 

          I apologize for the e-mail sent to all of you from Rolf Szabo this morning.  Rolf's comments are hurtful to our employees, friends and family members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.   This behavior is not aligned with the Kodak Values and, therefore, is not acceptable.

          Being a "Winning & Inclusive" kind of place, Kodak just happened to have a contingency plan in place for dealing with dissidents such as Rolf Szabo. 

Kodak Park offices and manufacturing
Kodak Park offices and manufacturing facilities
          Kodak has a nifty little device they call an Employee Commitment Plan -- ECP in Kodak-speak -- under which employees who exhibit such troubling diversity of thought are required to state, in writing, (a) that they are sorry; (b) they won't do it again; and (c) that they will essentially submit to Kodak's political re-education camp in order to eliminate their improper thoughts and attitudes. 

          Kodak informed Mr. Szabo that if he didn't sign an Employee Commitment Plan he would be fired.  Szabo refused to sign.  He was fired.

          According to WorldNetDaily's account, Mr. Szabo said "I would not submit and cave in to their trying to browbeat me into a confession."

          Also according to WordNetDaily's account, Jim Blamphin, Kodak media relations manager, said:  "The whole thing is true.  This chap was asked to take part in a program that fosters inclusion, and he refused. ... Every possible definition of diversity is embraced by Kodak.  This is a company that does not take these matters lightly."

[See Note 1 for links to the source material.]

          [COMMENT:  According to some surveys of Americans' attitudes toward homosexuality, anywhere from 20% to 60% of the American population find some aspect of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgendered lifestyles to be objectionable.  Under Kodak's "Winning and Inclusive Culture" regime, that means that 20% to 60% of the American workforce is ineligible to work at Kodak.  -- Tim Fay, editor]


Diversity of Opinion NOT Allowed
Part II
Excerpted from the Ryan O'Donnel article
"Corporate Diversity Scam"
which appeared in FrontPageMag.com Jan. 27, 2003

          "Under the guise of "diversity training," the intolerance of the political Left has penetrated corporate America. ... corporate diversity training has turned the twenty-first century workplace into a war zone. 

          "Despite their stated purpose, corporate "diversity" departments have demonstrated a fundamental lack of tolerance for any diversity in employee thought and have made basic decency in the workplace a matter of swallowing political correctness.  

          "This attitude of ideological intolerance reveals the most fundamentally frightening element of such diversity workshops: any opinion expressed that conflicts with the workshop teachings is inherently invalid and indicates "confusion," an unfortunate condition that requires further, more drastic indoctrination techniques. ...

         "Back to the diversity programs: after any "confused" employees are identified, the diversity facilitator launches a multi-faceted assault designed to force the resisting individuals to conform. Tactics range from group pressure, in which the facilitator encourages politically-correct employees to pressure non-conformist co-workers into accepting the consensus view, to isolation in which the dissenting individual is ostracized from the group. ...

          "Forbes Magazine reports that U.S companies spend as much as ten billion dollars per year on corporate diversity training. ...

          "Has this vast industry improved conditions in the workplace? All signs say no. Harassment and discrimination complaints continue to skyrocket and workplace tensions increase. ... Worse, corporations have been intimidated to the point where an employee's ability to navigate the corporate ladder seems to center around "diversity" characteristics, as opposed to actual ability. This is a threat to the competitiveness of American companies – their Japanese and Chinese competitors certainly don't have to deal with this nonsense in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

          "... [D]iscrimination and harassment complaints have risen a whopping 231% since 1991. The spike in corporate sexual harassment and discrimination issues does not stem from increased awareness, as those on the political Left would encourage us to believe. Rather, the same manufactured tension and paranoia that left the workplace susceptible to groupthink indoctrination has naturally led to an increase in harassment and discrimination issues. 

          "Occasionally a brave individual simply refuses to bend before the pressures employed by corporate diversity departments. On October 11th 2002, the Kodak Corporation, as part of the company's continuing "Winning & Inclusive Culture" campaign, sent out a memo to all employees regarding the Human Rights Campaign's annual "Coming Out Day."

          "Among other things, the memo ordered employees to: 'Acknowledge your level of awareness of this topic, and share your personal willingness to understand. Acknowledge his/her courage to publicly share this personal information.'

          "One employee, 23-year Kodak veteran and devout Christian Rolf Szabo took offense to the memo and emailed the company the following response:  'Please do not send this type of information to me anymore, as I find it disgusting and offensive.'

          "Mr. Szabo's right to express his religious beliefs in the workplace is protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. The "sex" mentioned in Title VII refers to gender based discrimination against a person. It contains no legal reference to homosexuality.

          "However, the corporate thought-police have little use for Federal Statutes. Szabo was immediately reprimanded by his supervisor, who informed the entire company that, "our behaviors must align to the Kodak values [as outlined in the Winning and Inclusive Culture] campaign."

          "Szabo was then asked to sign an employee commitment plan stating he regretted what he had written and outlining steps to prevent a similar incident from reoccurring. When Szabo refused to reconcile his Catholic faith with Kodak's Winning and Inclusive Program, he was fired.

          "What is truly terrifying about the Szabo - Kodak incident is that Szabo was fired not because he violated any law or statute, but because he rejected the groupthink mentality demanded by Kodak. No longer is job performance or company loyalty sufficient for continued employment; an employee's core beliefs must now conform to a Leftist political agenda."

[See Note 2 for links to the source material.]


Notes, References and Links:

Note 1-- Last known link(s) to the WorldNetDaily report:
Original:
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=29394

Copy of article:
http://www.dittohead.org/kodak_fires_over_gay_stance.%20html (some browsers may have trouble with this tag)

See also cached Google Link to same story:
http://216.239.39.100/search?q=cache:GiYvuAjLiS4J:
www.dittohead.org/kodak_fires_over_gay_stance.
%2520html+kodak+diversity&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

[Return]
Note 2 -- Last known link to the FrontPageMag.com report:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=5753
[Return]

Send Us Your Comments:

          If you have specific, additional information about Kodak's racial preferences programs, please send your confidential comments to editor@adversity.net


END Kodak Case 35: (4) Intolerance of Diversity of Opinion

Make another KodaQuota Selection:

Kodak Case 35:
(1) Introduction and Background
Kodak Case 35:
(2) $13 Million Settlement
Kodak Case 35:
(3) Funding and Involvement with Minority Causes
Kodak Case 35:
(4) Intolerance of Diversity of Opinion
(this page)
Kodak Case 35:
(5) Supplier Diversity Program
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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.