Salesforce offers to relocate employees and their families after Texas abortion law goes into effect

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Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2020.
Adam Galica | CNBC

Salesforce told thousands of employees in a Slack message on Friday that if they and their families are concerned about the ability to access reproductive care in the wake of Texas’ aggressive anti-abortion law, the company will help them relocate.

Texas’ Senate Bill 8 became law in May and went into effect earlier this month. The law says doctors cannot perform or induce abortions if they have “detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child,” except in medical emergencies. Additionally, ordinary citizens can file lawsuits against those who aid or abet abortions after the detection of a heartbeat.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to block the law, and on Thursday the Justice Department sued Texas over the law.

“These are incredibly personal issues that directly impact many of us — especially women,” Salesforce told employees in the message, which CNBC obtained. The company did not take a stance on the law. “We recognize and respect that we all have deeply held and different perspectives. As a company, we stand with all of our women at Salesforce and everywhere.”

The note continues, “With that being said, if you have concerns about access to reproductive healthcare in your state, Salesforce will help relocate you and members of your immediate family.”

CEO Marc Benioff tweeted this story out after it was first published and said, “Ohana if you want to move we’ll help you exit TX. Your choice.” Ohana is a Hawaiian term that means family.

The move comes as many employees in the tech industry are reassessing their lifestyles and considering new opportunities because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has kept workers isolated from colleagues. Benioff said in June that he expects more than half the company’s employees to work from home most or all of the time.

The tech industry has kept generally quiet about the Texas abortion law. However, Lyft and Uber both announced that they would pay legal costs for any drivers who are sued for transporting women to get abortions, and online dating company Bumble said it had started a fund to help people seeking abortions in the state.

Salesforce has previously waded into political issues in states where it operates. Benioff said in 2015 that the company was being “forced to dramatically reduce our investment” in Indiana because customers and employees were unhappy about the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Critics worried that the law would allow businesses to deny services to LGBTQ people on religious grounds.

Benioff said the company was canceling programs that required customers and employees to travel to the state.

Salesforce has a big presence in Indiana because it’s the home of ExactTarget, which Salesforce acquired for $2.5 billion in 2013. Salesforce later announced an expansion in the state following law changes, the Associated Press reported.

On its website, Salesforce lists Dallas, Texas, as one of its 16 U.S. locations, alongside Indianapolis and its San Francisco headquarters.  According to LinkedIn profiles, about 2,000 people work in Dallas. The company has over 56,000 employees worldwide.

— CNBC’s Christine Wang and Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.

WATCH: Uber follows Lyft’s lead, will cover drivers’ legal fees under Texas SB8

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