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Salesforce expanding in Indiana despite religious law uproar

Salesforce expanding in Indiana despite religious law uproar

INDIANAPOLIS — Business software company Salesforce announced Friday that it will add about 800 jobs to its Indianapolis workforce, despite threatening last year to reduce investment in Indiana over a religious objections law widely criticized as discriminatory to gay people.

The San Francisco-based company’s expansion will not only lead to the hiring of hundreds of new workers but will also see the Salesforce name added to the state’s tallest building, changing the downtown 48-story Chase Tower to Salesforce Tower Indianapolis.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle said the expansion couldn’t have happened without revisions to the state law last year that protected an Indianapolis ordinance banning discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Salesforce now has more than 1,000 Indiana employees, a legacy of its 2013 purchase of Indianapolis-based ExactTarget for more than $2.3 billion.

“Our presence here as active investing members of this community gives us a great platform to continue this fight to ensure there’s no discrimination of our employees or anyone in the entire state,” McCorkle said after he was joined by Republican Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett to make the announcement.

When asked about the move in light of Salesforce’s corporate activist on LGBT rights matters, including the company’s support for a bill last legislative session that would have created statewide protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, McCorkle said: “we have to run out business.”

“We are committed to completely eliminating even the perception of discrimination,” McCorkle said. “The best way to is with a statewide non-discrimination provision in our civil rights code, and we are committed to seeing that through.”

Pence called the announcement a big win for Indiana but wouldn’t elaborate about whether the company’s position on the issue of LGBT rights affected his thinking about the issue.

“Today is really not about the past. It is about the future,” Pence said. “The future of Indiana in technology and across the board in our economy couldn’t be more bright because of the pro-business environment we created.”

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