Following a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission inquiry, e-commerce company Groupon will donate $350,000 to a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education fund for Black kids, the two organizations said in a joint press release on December 27.
A job candidate claimed that Groupon had discriminated against him in 2014, denying him a job because of his race, according to documents filed with the EEOC. These filings were made in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. To grant the agency access to Groupon’s locations, documents, and technology, the EEOC requested that the court impose subpoenas. In 2016, the court approved this request.
According to Groupon and EEOC, the fund would support Black students seeking advanced STEM degrees by providing scholarships and enhancing STEM education for primary and secondary students. In addition, among other remedies, the corporation promised to give the EEOC yearly reports on hiring patterns and recruitment operations, as well as to increase internal equal employment opportunity training.
The EEOC has already increased its anti-discrimination enforcement efforts for the year 2023. EEOC data shows that the agency filed 143 employment discrimination complaints during the fiscal year, a more than 50% increase from 2022. For the first time in five years, that number comprised 25 systemic suits.
Diane Smason, the acting district director of the EEOC’s Chicago district office, stated in the news release that Groupon has proven its dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion by enhancing its hiring and recruitment procedures and contributing to STEM education.
“Other employers should keep in mind that promoting diversity and inclusion in recruiting and hiring efforts not only helps attract top talent, but it lays the foundation for building a workforce that prioritizes equity in all aspects of employment,” Smason said, referring to those who are experiencing rapid growth and rising staffing demands.
According to the announcement, Groupon will meet with the EEOC regularly to discuss its progress in EEO as part of the agreement. The company’s global head of DEI and chief people officer will oversee the company’s increased training initiatives and EEO policy review, according to the EEOC.
“Groupon’s mission-critical priority is building and nurturing a diverse and engaged workforce,” stated Emma Coleman, the global head of communications and DEI for the company, in the press release. “We are thrilled to establish the STEM educational fund because we also want to contribute to a future where everyone has equal opportunities.”
According to a National Science Foundation report, while the number of Black and African American workers in STEM fields with at least a bachelor’s degree increased between 2010 and 2019, the proportion of these workers remained underrepresented. For instance, according to NSF, these individuals accounted for 9% of STEM workers but made up 12% of all American workers.