Hilton just laid off its VP of global diversity at a time when Americans are demanding corporate action to fight systemic racism
- Hilton's last round of layoffs included its vice president of global
diversityand inclusion, Jon Muñoz, according to a LinkedIn post.
coronaviruspandemic devastated the hospitality industry, with some experts predicting that 4 million people who work for hotels could lose their jobs.
- A person who used to work directly with Muñoz at
Hiltonsaid she was "very surprised" to learn of his departure but that it had been "hard for him to make a movement on diversity" at the company.
- The protests that followed George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis have led to calls for corporations to take accountability for their roles in perpetuating systemic racism.
As many Americans call on companies to take accountability for their roles in perpetuating systemic racism, Hilton just laid off its vice president of global diversity and inclusion, Jon Muñoz.
Muñoz announced in a LinkedIn post earlier this week that Hilton had "eliminated" his role because of "business challenges caused by COVID-19." The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the hospitality industry in general, with some experts predicting that 4 million people who work for hotels could lose their jobs.
Hilton announced last week "the intended reduction of approximately 2,100 corporate roles globally" without elaborating on which divisions would be affected.
Muñoz had served as Hilton's head of global diversity and inclusion since March 2018. That year, Fortune magazine named Hilton the "best workforce for diversity" among all major US firms.
Before working at Hilton, Muñoz was a leader in the Hispanic and LGBTQ communities, as his LinkedIn indicates he served on the board of directors for the Friends of the American Latino Museum and for the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.
"Although I'm saddened by this turn of events, I'm extremely proud of the progress made these last nine years in our comprehensive diversity management practice," Muñoz wrote on LinkedIn. Muñoz declined to comment for this story.
Muñoz's departure comes at a time when Americans are calling for more corporate accountability for systemic racism. After George Floyd's killing at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, protests erupted in hundreds of cities calling for an end to racist policing, leading to a broader conversation around systemic racism. Employees have since shed light on the racial harassment many Black employees face at workplaces in media, retail, and tech. Many protests have coincided with LGBTQ activism during Pride Month, Insider has reported.
Business Insider has featured Laura Fuentes, the company's chief talent officer, as one of the 10 most influential corporate diversity leaders. In December, we reached out to Muñoz for comment on his role in making Hilton the best workplace for diversity in 2018, but Alison Menon, Hilton's senior manager of corporate communications, said in an email at the time that that Fuentes "leads on our D&I efforts" and that Muñoz reported into her.
Asked to comment on Muñoz's role being eliminated, the company said its "global head of talent and diversity is Laura Fuentes and she remains with Hilton." Hilton declined to comment on specific departures, saying that additional personnel updates in Fuentes' team "will be shared first internally."
In Hilton's 2019 brochure on diversity and inclusion at the company, Muñoz and Fuentes were both featured in "leadership spotlight" segments, with Muñoz listed as vice president of global diversity and inclusion and Fuentes as senior vice president of talent and rewards.
A person who said she previously worked directly on diversity initiatives with Muñoz, and who left Hilton several months ago, told Business Insider she felt "very surprised" after learning of his departure via LinkedIn.
In regard the exact nature of Muñoz's role and his level of input on diversity issues, the person said he was "sort of layered" and that in her view, it had been "hard for him to make a movement on diversity within Hilton."
The person said Muñoz repeatedly came up against the company's "stance" that it has already made progress on diversity.
Hilton did not respond to Business Insider's questions on whether it had postponed or canceled diversity initiatives proposed by Muñoz, or on any internal audits of corporate diversity or pay disparity between men and women.
"Conrad Hilton founded the company on this notion that
For this article, Hilton said it reaffirmed its "longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion." It did not say whether the company thinks more needs to be done on diversity and inclusion at the company.
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