After the horror of the 2016 election result, Matt Maloney, the founder of Grubhub, reached out to his employees to share his thoughts on a Trump presidency — but in a very different way than others.
The founder of the online food delivery service, who is a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, said in a companywide email that employees who support Trump's rhetoric are no longer welcome to work for him.
In the 300-word letter, Maloney said he “absolutely rejects the nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump.”
“While demeaning, insulting and ridiculing minorities, immigrants and the physically/mentally disabled worked for Mr. Trump, I want to be clear that this behavior — and those views — have no place at Grubhub,” Maloney wrote. “Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination.”
He also assured his employees who feel vulnerable after Trump’s victory that he would ensure their safety and fight for them if they feel threatened because of any other worker in the company.
“If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here,” he wrote to any who supported Trump’s racist, xenophobic, white supremacist views. “We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team.”
Soon after the email, Twitter users started calling for a boycott of Grubhub.
In his defense, Maloney said the email wasn’t intended to call out all Trump supporters, but only those people who could not refrain from discrimination.
“At Grubhub, we welcome and accept employees with all political beliefs, no matter who they voted for in this or any election,” he said. “We do not discriminate on the basis of someone's principles, or otherwise,” said Maloney in a statement emailed to Blue Sky. “The message was intended to advocate for inclusion and tolerance — regardless of political affiliation — during this time of transition for our country.”
“I have no problem with an employee voting for Trump,” he clarified to Forbes. “I have no problem with an employee agreeing with Trump’s hateful statements. However, I will not tolerate discriminatory activity or hateful speech at Grubhub, and I will stand up for our employees when they are demeaned or defamed.”
However, some people believe it would have been prudent not to have sent the companywide letter, even if they understand Maloney’s intention behind it.
Bruce Tulgan, author of “It’s OK to be the Boss” said the letter was “extraordinary” but could be construed in a negative way by Trump supporters who worked for the company.
“Much of that message could have been communicated without making direct reference to the election,” Tulgan said of Maloney’s email. "Anytime you are talking about things that are not work at work you’re risking potentially alienating people, making people feel uncomfortable or un-welcomed at work."
Mark Horstman, cofounder of Manager Tools, said he would have recommended Maloney not send the notice out.
"That note could be construed by his employees that someone who voted for Trump could be fired," said Horstman. "It has a chilling effect on people's perception of their rights."
Despite a lot of backlash on Twitter, Maloney said he has received no resignation letters and instead had “almost 20 percent” of his employees come up to him and thank him for his action.
He also added he deeply respects people’s right to vote for anyone they want but also wanted to assure his employees that they advocated tolerance and inclusion.
The CEO ended the letter urging his employees to “stay strong.”