Posted on October 4, 2011

Robert L. Johnson Calls for Business Version of Rooney Rule

Nsenga Burton, The Root, October 3, 2011

RLJ Companies chief Robert L. Johnson has offered a solution to addressing alarming unemployment rates in the black community, calling for the creation of a “RLJ Rule,” which would be modeled after the National Football League’s “Rooney Rule.”

In an effort to engage the business community in addressing the inequitable unemployment rates for African Americans and to increase vendor and supplier opportunities for minority-owned businesses, Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson, also founder of the RLJ Companies, is urging Fortune 1000 companies to “voluntarily” adopt a version of the Rooney Rule.

According to the NFL, the Rooney Rule requires teams to give fair interviews to minority candidates whenever a head-coaching or general-manager position becomes open prior to making a final hiring decision. {snip}

Johnson urges a similar practice for all U.S. companies and firms, which he calls the RLJ Rule.


The two-pronged RLJ Rule:

(a) encourages companies to voluntarily implement a plan to interview a minimum of two qualified African American candidates for every job opening at the vice president level and above; and

(b) encourages companies to interview at least two qualified African American firms for vendor supplier/services contracts before awarding a new company contract to a vendor.