Practicing good corporate citizenship in our workplace and communities
A message from Bruce Caswell to all employees
June 4, 2020
This is a painful time for our country, and the recent events are heartbreaking to us all. We are all, in our own ways, pausing to reflect and contemplate how we can move forward as a nation, myself included. For that reason, I hesitated to rush this communication to you but wanted to take the time to learn, examine who we are as a company, and, most importantly – listen. Finding the right words is impossible, but I wanted to share some thoughts from myself and Maximus leadership.
Our mission of Helping Government Serve the People® has guided our business for decades and has perhaps never been more relevant than during these times. We are entrusted to assist some of the most vulnerable citizens in America each day, and in doing so, to treat each and every person we serve – and each other – with dignity and respect. Diversity, equality, empathy, and inclusion are central to our company identity, and we are proud to contribute to and positively impact our communities.
We are all shocked and saddened by the recent death of George Floyd, along with others including Ahmaud Arbery in South Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and the countless black Americans and other people of color who have lost their lives as the result of racial prejudice and injustice that exist today. We all agree that such tragic events can never be tolerated nor forgotten, but we struggle to find solutions to address the persistent and systemic racism in America. We owe you, our clients, our citizens, and the communities we serve the assurance that these issues will not be brushed aside. We must treat the pandemic of racism with the same concern, vigilance, and collective commitment we are using to fight the other health pandemic we face.
At a time like this, we reflect on the long history of racial prejudice and injustice, particularly against black Americans, that began in our country with slavery, and continued through the Reconstruction era, the enactment of Jim Crow laws, and the trials of the civil rights movement. Though laws and policies have changed over the years, and progress has been made in certain communities, it is not enough. Lasting change also requires each of us to critically examine the way we act and think. For some of us, this means recognizing that our journey in this world is under very different circumstances than our neighbor or colleague. And if the recent events teach us nothing else, we must also realize that too many of our family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues are not protected from the consequences of hatred and injustice. They have experienced these in their own lives directly and live each day with a burden of anxiety and fear. Together we can and must do more.
Each of us has an opportunity to create change in our own communities to disrupt prejudice and exchange ideas and perspectives in a constructive manner. This opportunity extends to the workplace, as well. As you know, Maximus does not tolerate anything but a safe and inclusive workplace for people of all backgrounds. We do not tolerate hate, harassment, or discrimination of any kind based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or country of origin. Conversely, we welcome and support our employees’ efforts to further a dialogue of inclusion and positive and constructive actions in the name of social justice.
Actions can take many forms and begin with us individually. For some of us, this means making a commitment to become more educated and aware of the problems of systemic racism and injustice, and the structures that have enabled their persistence. For others, this may mean committing to voting for the change you want to see in our country or giving voice to your convictions by calling out injustice when you see it. For all of us, I believe we should do everything we can to act with kindness and empathy and treat others with the dignity and respect with which we would hope to be treated.
In light of recent events, I am reminded that we have an opportunity to further lead by example. Maximus can and will do more.
As a starting point, we are looking inward and educating ourselves, continuing these crucial discussions, and evolving our ongoing inclusion efforts. These efforts include creating forums in which difficult discussions on topics of racism and injustice can constructively and safely occur. We also seek to provide connections and resources for our employees who want to be part of constructive change in their communities. In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to hearing your voices and having your ideas become part of how we go forward together. In the meantime, if you have ideas you wish to share, an open line of communication has been established for employees.
External actions are equally important, and as a company, we will be making an initial contribution of $50,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. For those looking to get involved and take action with us, we first encourage your engagement in our diversity and inclusion efforts, as I’ve noted. We also recognize that some of you may want to consider donating to extend your impact, but this is a very personal decision. If you choose to donate through a Maximus payroll deduction, we will match your donation, two-to-one, tripling your impact. More information will be provided soon on how you can donate.
Continuing this dialogue about race, prejudice, and social injustice will help us to heal, grow, and bring about change. Please join us as we try to do our part in bringing attention to the need for lasting change in our communities and our country.
Finally, for our colleagues who are hurting, know that we acknowledge your pain. You are not alone and there are resources to help you, such as our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Cigna and other mental health resources available on My Maximus. EAP’s 24-hour hotline is 877.622.4327.
President and Chief Executive Officer