Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2020.
Adam Galica | CNBC
Salesforce in a Slack message on Friday announced to thousands of employees that the company will help them move if they and their families are concerned about access to reproductive medicine under Texas’s aggressive anti-abortion law.
Texas Senate Bill 8 went into effect in May and went into effect earlier this month. The law states that doctors cannot perform or initiate abortions once they have “detected a fetal heartbeat in the unborn child,” except in the event of a medical emergency. In addition, ordinary citizens can file lawsuits against those who support or assist abortions after a heartbeat is detected.
The US Supreme Court refused to block the law, and on Thursday the Justice Department sued Texas over the law.
“These are incredibly personal issues that affect many of us directly – women especially,” Salesforce told employees in the message CNBC received. The company has not commented on the law. “We recognize and respect that we all have deeply rooted and diverse perspectives. As a company, we stand by all of our women at Salesforce, everywhere.”
The notice went on to say, “If you have concerns about access to reproductive health care in your state, Salesforce will help you and your immediate family relocate.”
CEO Marc Benioff tweeted this story after it first posted, saying, “Ohana, if you want to move we’re here to help you leave TX. Your choice.” Ohana is a Hawaiian term that means family.
The move comes as many tech industry workers rethink their lifestyles and consider new opportunities due to the coronavirus pandemic that has isolated workers from colleagues. Benioff said in June that he believes more than half of the company’s employees work from home most or all of the time.
The tech industry has generally remained silent about the Texan abortion law. However, Lyft and Uber both announced they would cover the legal costs of any drivers sued for transporting women to abortions, and online dating company Bumble said it had set up a fund to help people who are seek abortions in the state.
Salesforce has previously worked on political issues in the states in which it operates. Benioff said in 2015 that the company was “forced to drastically reduce our investments” in Indiana because customers and employees were dissatisfied with state law restoring religious freedom. Critics fear that the law would allow companies to refuse services to LGBTQ people on religious grounds.
Benioff said the company canceled programs that would require customers and employees to travel to the state.
Salesforce has a large presence in Indiana because it is the home of ExactTarget, which Salesforce acquired for $ 2.5 billion in 2013. Salesforce later announced expansion in the state following legislative changes, the Associated Press reported.
On its website, Salesforce lists Dallas, Texas, along with Indianapolis and its headquarters in San Francisco, as one of its 16 US locations. About 2,000 people work in Dallas, according to LinkedIn profiles. The company employs over 56,000 people worldwide.
– CNBC’s Christine Wang and Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.
SEE: Uber follows Lyft’s lead and pays driver legal fees under Texas SB8