HRC Workplace Project Travels Coast-to-Coast During LGBT Pride Month
July 23, 2013 by Liz Cooper, Manager of Corporate Programs, Workplace Project
From Pennsylvania to Texas to New York, the Workplace Project traveled far and wide throughout June to promote corporate equality.
Fresh off of the Supreme Court’s historic marriage decisions, the Workplace Project traveled to the City of Brotherly Love, where Director Deena Fidas was honored to participate in Comcast’s LGBT Pride Month celebration.
Fidas joined several other distinguished panelists for a discussion about transgender inclusion in the workplace. The other panelists, including Stephanie Battaglino from New York Life, Riley Keenan, owner of Strides for Pride, and Liz Weber, Vice President of Comcast’s Benefits Division, provided engaging insights on how to best achieve full LGBT inclusion in the workplace, especially for transgender individuals.
Comcast, a company at the forefront of corporate equality, added transgender inclusive health care coverage to their benefits last year. Further demonstrating their commitment to equality, Comcast adjusted their organizational competency programs to include education on transgender issues. Thanks to this hard work, Comcast received a perfect score on the 2013 Corporate Equality Index and stands as an industry leader for becoming one of the best places to work for LGBT Equality
We were pleased to highlight the importance of the Corporate Equality Index during Comcast’s Pride celebration, as well as connect with our longtime friends and allies in Philadelphia. To find out more about transgender inclusion in the workplace, please visit our webpage on the subject here.
The Lonestar State got a dose of corporate equality as the Workplace Project arrived for a Degrees of Equality Luncheon Workshop. Focusing specifically on how the internal climate of an organization affects LGBT employees, the luncheon unveiled some of the unpublished results of this year’s Degrees of Equality report.
First published in 2009 and re-administered in 2012, the Degrees of Equality survey and report studies how LGBT identity unfolds in the workplace, how climate can affect the retention and productivity of all employees, and how organizations can ensure that their workplace culture provides a fully inclusive space for LGBT and straight employees alike.
In addition to revealing that ten percent of LGBT employees have left a company because of a less than inclusive environment, the forthcoming study shows that over half of LGBT workers remain closeted on the job – a steady statistic since the 2009 launch of Degrees of Equality – despite the unprecedented legislative and judicial advances towards LGBT equality over the past five years.
Although over 8 in 10 of non-LGBT workers said their LGBT colleagues shouldn’t have to hide their LGBT identity at work, a double standard exists for out employees, as 70 percent of non-LGBT employees also thought it was unprofessional to talk about sexual orientation in a professional setting.
At the luncheon, Deputy Director of the Workplace Project Deena Fidas provided strategies for eliminating double standards like these that can make LGBT employees uncomfortable and disengaged in the workplace. Small but meaningful actions with an eye towards inclusion at all levels of management can make a company’s climate more welcoming, helping to recruit and retain top diverse talent.
At the end of June, the Workplace Project returned the Big Apple for a panel event graciously hosted by MetLife.
In addition to representatives from HRC’s Workplace Project, the panel featured Derrick M. Brown, Executive Director for NGLCCNY; Joseph Milizio, a partner at Vishnick McGovern & Milizio Attorney's at Law; and Gabriel Blau of the Family Equality Council.
Distinguished in their knowledge of how the financial and LGBT worlds collide, panelists spoke at length about the economic impact of marriage equality. The Workplace Project, in particular, emphasized the importance of corporate equality in attracting and retaining top talent, as well as the impact marriage equality could have on business relocation or expansion.
Just a day after the panel took place, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, taking the country one step closer to marriage equality. At the Workplace Project, we look forward to continuing these conversations with our allies in the business world as they begin to have real-life implications.
As always, we are incredibly grateful to MetLife, who sponsored the event. MetLife is a leader in the field of corporate equality, scoring a 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index since 2003.
Learn more about HRC work to promote workplace equality at www.hrc.org/workplace.
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