Cloud computing firm Salesforce is helping employees upset by Indiana's new religious freedom law relocate from the state.
“I just got an email on the way to the studio from another employee who said, ‘I don’t feel comfortable living in this state anymore, you have to move me out,’ ” Benioff told CNN’s Poppy Harlow.
“And I gave him a $50,000 relocation package and said, ‘Great, you’re clear to go.' "
Benioff said his company had too much stake in Indiana to abandon it completely. All the same, he said he felt a corporate responsibility to challenge the “brutal” and “unjust” legislation passed last week.
“This is a really important point that, you know, CEOs have a lot of power and control on investment in states and we want to invest in states where there is equality,” Benioff argued.
“One thing that you’re seeing is that there is a third [political] party emerging in this country, which is the party of CEOs,” he concluded.
Supporters of the law argue it protects against government intrusion into business decisions made on faith. Its critics, in contrast, claim it would justify business discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals based on religious reasoning.
Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed the legislation on March 26. His action immediately sparked a social media firestorm, centered on Twitter hashtag #BoycottIndiana.
A number of tech companies did just that, vowing they would halt investments in the Hoosier State until the law was fixed. Apple, Twitter and Yelp are just a few of the corporate interests that have joined Salesforce in condemning Indiana’s decision.
The corporate backlash forced Hoosier lawmakers to scramble to change the law.
They announced Thursday morning they were changing the language to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation.