Walt Disney Co. could get caught in the middle of a spat between large investors and the SEC over keeping workplace issues off proxy ballots.
At issue is a shareholder proposal that asks the entertainment giant to show what it is doing to ensure its suppliers give workers a decent wage. The investors say they will appeal to the SEC chairman and commissioners if the SEC staff lets Disney omit the proposal from its proxy. If that appeal fails, Disney may face a lawsuit from Progressive Asset Management and the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church, which filed the proposal. Since 1992, the SEC has said workplace issues such as employment policies are part of a company's ``ordinary business operations,'' and not a concern of investors. Disney already has sought SEC permission to exclude the proposal on those grounds.