Former American Express employee Nick Williams wants to end “woke” ideology infiltrating corporations. (Fox News Digital)
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My multiple awards and sales put me in the top 1% of all American Express employees for eight consistent years. I loved the company and “bled the AmEx blue.” I even considered getting a tattoo of the famous AmEx Centurion. Until the company turned on me for not putting the company’s DEI policies above American Express’s credit-worthy standards.
My journey into purgatory began with a request by a potential client for a large credit line. I responded to this inquiry by applying all the company’s standard credit checks. The client refused to comply, and in the process very rudely harassed me and my Black male colleague whom I assigned to directly service her. Still, I did not decline her request. Rather I sent it up the chain for further review.
Fatefully for me, the potential client was a Black woman who viewed my actions as emblematic of a narrative of racism against her. Thus, she complained to corporate that American Express might be exhibiting “systematic racism.”
The woman contacted American Express’s president and other officials through personal and legal means. She claimed the denial of her account was due to her race. American Express’s corporate leadership would not tolerate any behavior that went against their desire to be a “diverse” company.
EX-AMERICAN EXPRESS EMPLOYEE SPEAKS OUT ON ‘WOKE’ CORPORATE AMERICA
The company responded by sending me into a 73-day long interrogation for my sales practices. I was required to attend four Webex meetings with both internal and external legal counsel American Express had retained. At those meetings, I was not allowed to defend myself, told that I would be deemed “guilty” if I had a lawyer present with me. When I tried, I was shouted down. I was told not to communicate with anyone internally or externally – certainly not lawyers – about these meetings. The interrogations went on for over ten weeks until the company unceremoniously fired me over the phone. Their reason, which they never provided in writing, was due to my “inconsistencies in the code of conduct.”
After finally firing me, American Express destroyed my credit line when I refused to sign a Release of Claims document promising I would keep my mouth shut about this whole business. I refused my “payoff” (severance package tied to the Release of Claims being signed) to be quiet. As a result, on the very next day, American Express canceled all of my credit accounts. They even put me and every LLC associated with me on a credit “Match list,” effectively a blacklist for all credit card processors.
If I had simply broken company policy, the standard practice is to inform me of my wrongdoing. Perhaps give a long-time employee a second chance. Then if noncompliance exists, go ahead and fire me.
What happened to me, however, is not about protecting solid company policies. Rather it is about requiring strict adherence to certain beliefs. Those beliefs are set out in American Expresses’s Diversity, Inclusion & Equity statements.
These policies are full of doublespeak. The document speaks extensively of “inclusive” leadership and promoting all employees. Those statements are then directly contradicted by “Investing in Underrepresented Talent” and “Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community” and promoting women. Nowhere is there mention of the one community that is clearly not being supported under the current regime – white family men like me.
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This Kafkaesque language of trying to say – but not say – what the company is actually doing is another reason I was fired. New evidence in documents obtained by the race-blind advocacy group Color Us United’s UnAmerican Express campaign shows that American Express incentivizes executives to promote, hire, and fire based on race by giving a 15 percent bonus for composing a team with their desired ratio of minorities and women.
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So, I was sacrificed on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion altar. When companies, or any political regime, become beholden to a political narrative they begin to forget fundamental morals and standards about how to treat employees, especially high performers who have been loyal to the company. American Express – like many corporations today – has decided to promote DEI and other woke policies – no matter the damage. The result is – as in dictatorial regimes – those who do not adhere are either silenced or exiled.
We can only hope that the realities of a free market and America’s belief in real inclusion, diversity and equality will force American Express and other companies to save themselves and their employees from becoming dictatorial fiefdoms.
Nick Williams is a former American Express employee and three-time winner of American Express’s “Chairman’s Award.”