Complaint No. 08-cv-4945 MHP (N.D. Calif.) filed October 29, 2008.
According to the filing, professional employees at Dell Inc. are categorized into grade levels in ascending order as follows: C1s to C3s (Managers and Senior Analysts); D1s (Senior Managers) to D3s (Directors); E1s (Vice Presidents) to E2s (Officers and Executive Leadership Team).
Despite receiving favorable performance reviews, the women repeatedly were "put off" regarding promises of promotion. As a consequence, they "complained repeatedly" to higher-ranking executives about pay that was lower than male counterparts.
In the summer of 2007, Ms. Riches was also interviewed as part of an internal
investigation or audit referred to as a "focus group" regarding gender discrimination at Dell. After that, she alleged suffering retaliation for her views.
No women serve on Dell’s 14-member Officer and Executive Leadership Team (E2). Approximately 80 percent of all Vice Presidents (E1 level), the D3 (Director) level and the D1 (Senior Manager) level are male.
The suit alleges that "The systemic means of accomplishing gender-based stratification include . . . Dell’s development, placement, promotion, advancement, training, performance evaluation, and termination/retention policies, practices, and procedures."
Many questions come to mind.
1. Didn’t Dell have a "Diversity Council?"
Yes, and Michael Dell was its chair: "Michael Dell Chairs Company Global Diversity Council," Aug. 11, 2008.
The diversity council consists of six executives, including three from the company’s executive leadership team [the presidents, listed below]. Only one member is a woman: Jan Uhrich.
The Global Diversity Council members include:
2. Didn’t Dell win accolades from "working mothers?"
Yes again. "Dell Makes the List for Working Mothers," Sep. 23, 2008
"We’ve recently been named to the Working Mother 2008 100 Best Companies. We’re honored because Working Mother is known as the premier source for celebrating America’s family-friendly leaders. In fact, Carol Evans, CEO and Founder of Working Mother Media, had to say this about Dell:
'In this sluggish economy, many employers are controlling costs by cutting back on family-friendly policies — but not the 2008 Working Mother 100 Best Companies. From flextime and telecommuting to backup child care and parental leave, our 100 Best Companies have made work/life balance a top priority for working moms and dads. This year, Dell won a place on our list for the first time. I am so proud to welcome Dell to the Working Mother 100 Best Companies.'"
3. Weren’t there other women in Dell’s leadership?
Yes: some of them are/were top technology and support service professionals. A few of these include:
retirement in 2007:
"Susan Sheskey, a Dell vice president and 12-year veteran of the company's information-technology function, [August 1, 2005] was named chief information officer.
Kevin Rollins, president and chief executive officer, announced Ms. Sheskey's appointment, which is effective immediately. She had been serving as interim CIO. Ms. Sheskey reports to Dell's Office of the Chief Executive Officer and becomes a member of its Global Executive Management Committee.
'Susan has an exceptional understanding of our business model and the competitive advantages derived from a robust IT infrastructure,' Mr. Rollins said. 'Her team is skilled, knowledgeable and deep, and an ideal example to customers about capabilities and benefits from powering their enterprises with Dell standards-based technology.'
Ms. Sheskey has had broad management experience at Dell, including serving as vice president for Global Sales, Services, Manufacturing and Fulfillment IT before being named interim CIO in July.
Prior to joining the company in 1993, Ms. Sheskey compiled key planning, development and operational experience during 20 years with Ameritech's corporate and services functions and at Ohio Bell. She is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio."
"Sally Stevens joined Dell as the Director of Server Product Management. Sally comes from AMD, where she served as Director of Commercial Platform Solutions, responsible for driving Commercial solution requirements and awareness into AMD mobile, desktop and server designs. Prior to AMD, Sally spent 10 years at Compaq/HP in various marketing management and executive roles including Director of ProLiant Marketing, and Director of Strategy and Business Planning, and was key in defining and launching HP's blade solution. Sally has also held various product management and software engineering roles during her 10 years at NCR."
4. Doesn’t Dell have two women on their board of directors?
Yes, Judy C. Lewant and Sallie L. Krawcheck.
Judy C. Lewant
Director since May 2001
Board committees: Finance (Chair), Leadership Development and Compensation
Ms. Lewent is the former Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer of Merck & Co., Inc. She retired from Merck on September 1, 2007. She served as Chief Financial Officer of Merck since 1990 and has held various other financial and management positions since joining Merck in 1980. Ms. Lewent is also a director of Motorola, Inc. Ms. Lewent is a trustee and the chairperson of the audit committee of the Rockefeller Family Trust, a life member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Corporation and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Sallie L. Krawcheck
Director since July 2006
Board committees: Finance
Ms. Krawcheck is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Citi Global Wealth Management. Until March 2007, Ms. Krawcheck served as Chief Financial Officer and Head of Strategy for Citigroup Inc. She is also a member of the Citi Management, Operating and Business Heads Committees, as well as the Citi Foundation Board and Citi Business Practices Committee. Ms. Krawcheck joined Citigroup in October 2002 as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Smith Barney. Prior to joining Citi, Ms. Krawcheck was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. She also served as an Executive Vice President of Bernstein's parent company, Alliance Capital Management, from 1999 to 2001. Ms. Krawcheck is a member of the Board of Directors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Foundations, Inc., Carnegie Hall and the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School; and the Board of trustees for the Economic Club of New York.
5. Didn’t Dell have a Leadership Development Committee with responsibility for monitoring all aspects of leadership development?
Yes, the Leadership Development and Compensation Committee met 8 times during 2008. The members in 2008 were:
Alan (A.G.) Lafley (Chair)
William H. Gray, III
Michael A. Miles
Most recently, Judy Lewant was added as a Leadership Development committee member.
The charter of the Leadership Development and Compensation Committee reads:
Acting pursuant to Section 141 of the Delaware General Corporation Law and Section 1 of Article IV of the Company's Bylaws, the Board of Directors has established a Leadership Development and Compensation Committee for the purpose of reviewing and (except in the case of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer) approving, on behalf of the Board of Directors) management recommendations regarding all forms of compensation to be provided to each executive officer and director of the Company, including any perquisites and equity compensation, and salary, bonus and equity compensation guidelines for all employees. The Committee will also have responsibility for reviewing management succession plans and leadership development strategies."
6. Did the four women complainants appeal to any of the above corporate resources while they were employed at Dell in order to try to bring this situation to the attention of the leadership and seek remedies during the period that they were employees of the firm?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.