Journalist Zaid Jilani blasts Chevron for using diversity as a 'way to spin layoffs'

Journalist Zaid Jilani on Monday criticized Chevron for saying mass layoffs improved the diversity of its leadership.

“Obviously, the oil industry has been in really rough straits this year,” Jilani told Hill.TV, also noting the decline of the U.S. economy in general.

Jilani pointed to a Chevron press release that said layoffs had improved the company’s workforce diversity due to the higher representation of women and people of color among its remaining staff.

Jilani also stressed that the improved diversity reflected current staffing rather than new hiring.

“Now it’s a way for companies to spin layoffs… it doesn’t mean actually giving anyone new a job,” he said.

“You can always play these games with statistics. For instance, if you completely eliminate the prison population except for two people and one of them was a woman and one of them was a man you could say you increased the percentage of women behind bars by 50 percent or something,” he said, noting the company could open itself to discrimination liability if the layoffs were deliberately structured.

“They’re basically talking about who’s in the boardroom and the reality is 99 to 1 people don’t even get to the boardroom in the first place, they don’t have the proper education, the family background, the public safety, the access to capital, intergenerational wealth, the things you need to actually get to that spot,” he added.