As many companies do, Salesforce Brazil (SFDC) promoted a year-end party for employees in December 2017. The climate in the Brazilian branch, however, extrapolated the standards accepted by the American multinational company and ended up leading to the change in the command of the brazilian subsidiary.
According to Brazilian newspapers and images circulating on the internet, the human resources department understood that it would be fun to run a costume contest at the annual party with cash prizes for the top three. The first place would take R$ 3,000. Voting for the party were about 250 participants.
One of the sales staff wanted to dress up as a popular meme that circulating in the brazilian WhatsApp, called “Negão do WhatsApp.” He wore a blue shirt, put a towel on his shoulder, a pink hat, and improvised a prosthesis to imitate the man’s penis. He got fourth place in the costume contest and appeared at the center of a photo, next to the commercial director and ten other people, all having fun.
At the headquarters in San Francisco (West Coast), where the image with the costumed arrived, a crisis broke out.
The versions on the image impact differ. One of them, who circulates on the internet, says that the company’s management would have asked for the dismissal of the employee, but the commercial director tried to keep him in office, arguing that in Brazil people are more liberal.
The headquarters, then, would have decided to fire the commercial director as well. It would have been the turn of the president of the multinational in Brazil to interfere, claiming that the punishment was exaggerated, since it had been a joke.
Headquarters eventually laid off the officer, the director, and the president. Two other officials, dressed up as the main characters in the movie “White Chicks” – in which two black policemen become white girls – were suspended by the company until the second review.
Folha, the brazilian newspaper learned that people close to the case considered the punishment exaggerated and contradictory to the company’s discourse of being open to diversity. After the country manager’s dismisal, the Salesforce command in the country was taken over by Enrique Ortegon, who heads the operation in Latin America.
Salesforce confirmed the dismissals of employees and said that by internal protocol, would not comment on the exit of the professionals. Salesforce produces software for customer management and marketing (CRM) and has clients such as Embraer, iFood and SulAmérica.