Sunrun Proxy Speech
Listen to Dr. Kristin Hull present to Sunrun's board on the issue of forced arbitration.
Hello, my name is Dr. Kristin Hull and I am the Founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital.
I formally move agenda item 4. This resolution requests that Sunrun’s Board of Directors oversee the preparation of a report on the impact of the use of mandatory arbitration on Sunrun’s employees and on its workplace culture. The report shall evaluate the association of Sunrun’s current use of arbitration with the prevalence of both harassment and discrimination in its workplace and on employees’ ability to seek redress should harassment or discrimination occur.
We raise the issue because investors want to see Sunrun benefit from building a positive and inclusive workplace culture.
When it comes to building strong diversity, equity and inclusion programs, arbitration can undermine those efforts.
Provisions requiring arbitration in employment agreements limit employees’ remedies when wrongdoing occurs; often keeps underlying facts, misconduct or case outcomes secret; and prevents employees from learning about shared concerns. Stated simply: arbitration allows bad corporate behavior, like bias, harassment and discrimination, to continue, hidden from other employees, and investors.
Because Sunrun forces employees to sign arbitration clauses, investors are not able to know whether a problem exits.
Arbitration clauses may mask, even from Sunrun, problems in workplace culture.
Employees distrusting arbitration to be fair and equitable creates a risk of a sudden surge of claims, should the law change or a workaround be found. When hidden discrimination or harassment problems surface, multiple employees may step forward at once, creating a sudden and significant brand liability. Allegations of harassment or discrimination, once released, may significantly disrupt business operations, introduce overwhelming expenses and undermine long-term business strategies.
Even if arbitration remains an effective lid for employee complaints, poor diversity and inclusion practices undermine long-term business success. Sunrun has limited public reporting on the effectiveness of its workplace equity programs. Companies with effective human capital management programs should not need arbitration as protection from employee lawsuits or class actions.
It is essential that the board assess the implications of its use of arbitration and that Sunrun take seriously the need to both ensure a fair, equitable, positive and inclusive workplace and be transparent with investors and employees about workplace conditions.
Sunrun is clearly leading in residential rooftop installations. We’d like to see Sunrun lead when it comes to best practices for employees as well.