Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urge SEC Chair Gary Gensler to require diversity disclosure reporting including disability status.
Letter states future rulemaking related to human capital management and diversity should include disability status.
This week, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Gary Gensler, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) urging him to require disclosure of standardized data to help investors and other stakeholders include disability status in all future rulemaking.
- The letter makes several important points, including: “Collecting and publicly reporting data on disability status is key to closing the employment gap facing individuals with disabilities in the workforce.”
- The letter references the Disability:IN Joint Investor Statement: “Recently, a group of investors with over $2.8 trillion in assets under management – including Bank of America, Voya Financial, TD Bank, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, and New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli – signed a joint letter calling on the companies they invest in to take steps to create an inclusive workplace for people with disabilities.”
- The letter calls out a point that Disability:IN has repeatedly made with the SEC, “…people with disabilities have long been recognized by Congress, the courts, and executive agencies as a minority group.”
- The letter also raises the importance of supplier diversity: “Supplier diversity and procurements should be tracked and shared with shareholders, so the company and its shareholders know how their investments are being spent and with whom.”
This letter is a significant step forward for disability inclusion within publicly traded companies.
As the letter states, “…featuring individuals with disabilities in human capital reporting requirements would align with the SEC’s core mission of protecting investors, ensuring fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation.”
Additionally, the House Financial Services Committee introduced a bill this week that would “require public companies to include information on the disability status of their employees in their annual report.”
Why Does This Matter?
Representation matters. A workforce, C-suite, and boardroom that are inclusive of people with disabilities isn’t only the right thing to do, but it is good for business. The Accenture “Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage Report,” found that companies that embraced best practices for employing and supporting people with disabilities achieved 28 percent higher revenue, double the net income and 30 percent higher economic profit margins over a four-year period.
If the SEC acts on these issues, and requires more transparency and disclosure of diversity data, including disability status, it will have a tremendous impact on the employment of people with disabilities and representation of people with disabilities in the boardroom and C-suite.
Requiring publicly traded companies to disclose this data will provide more transparency to investors, so they can make more informed decisions around the companies they invest in. Additionally, requiring companies to disclose more information on their supplier diversity spend will open more opportunities to disability-owned businesses.
Diversity disclosure metrics are materially important to investors and will further allow investors to meet their ESG goals, while simultaneously increasing representation of people with disabilities at all levels of publicly traded companies.