Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been one of the most vocal opponents of Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that allows businesses to refuse to serve members of the LGBT community.
Last week, he canceled all events scheduled in Indiana and withdrew its sponsorship of Indy Big Data in protest of the law. He’s discouraging employees from travelling to Indiana and stopped investing in the state as a whole.
Now he offered at least one Salesforce employee a $US50,000 cheque to move out of the state.
During an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Benioff said he received an email from a Salesforce employee in Indiana who wrote him, “I don’t feel comfortable living in this state anymore — you have to move me out.”
In response, Benioff offered a $US50,000 relocation package, saying, “Great, you’re clear to go.”
Salesforce is the largest tech employer in Indiana, thanks to its 2013 acquisition of marketing automation company ExactTarget, so it would be impossible to move the whole office out of the state. “My job as the CEO is to be an advocate for my employees and to be an advocate for my customers,” he said.
Benioff also noted that he’s working closely with the governor and the state of Indiana to solve the issue.
“On one side, we’re rallying the world’s CEOs to let the state of Indiana know that they’re going to reduce investment in Indiana dramatically. On the other side, we’re having very good, cooperative, collaborative conversations going on with the governor of Indiana, the mayor of Indianapolis, and the legislature, to try to find a resolution for this.”
Scott McCorkle, who runs the business Salesforce built from ExactTarget, told us:
“Our employees in Indy started a grassroots effort that led us to take a stand against this law. As a result of this law, a few employees have asked to relocate and we supported those requests. This is not unusual for Salesforce. We have always been open to discussing relocation opportunities with our employees and will continue to do so in the future. We are proud of our employees in Indiana and I’m so proud of what we accomplished this week.”