Advocating for LGBT Workplace Equality as a Consumer
As a consumer, you can make informed purchase decisions by examining the policies and practices of the businesses you buy goods and services from — and informing those businesses if they fail to meet your standards. Whether making purchases on behalf of yourself or a business, it's crucial to formally let businesses know that you consider LGBT equality important enough to impact your purchasing decisions.
What Your Message Should Say
Make it personal — talk about why policies for LGBT workers are important to you, why it makes good business sense to treat LGBT workers fairly, and where you are taking your business instead (see "Choosing Businesses to Work With" below).
- Sample letter - use this example to start crafting your message
- Business case for inclusion - these points can be useful to expand on in your letter:
- If the business doesn't already participate in the Corporate Equality Index, make a point to let them know about the report and why they should participate:
If you are a current or previous customer, particularly an organizational customer, you may want to include include how much business (total purchases in dollars) you give the business — or may be taking with you to the competition.
Who to Contact
If you have a relationship with the company (e.g., if you are an ongoing customer or client), address your concerns to the senior-most contact you have a direct relationship with such as a sales representative or manager. Also consider carbon-copying executives in customer relations, human resources, public relations and the chief executive officer or president of the organization. This helps ensure your message is heard by someone whom your decision directly impacts. Try finding the appropriate executive within the business by looking through its website or these business directories:
If you don't have a relationship with the business, make a formal complaint using the business' general customer feedback phone number, shareholder relations phone number or e-mail address, or comment forms provided on its website. Companies often get a tremendous volume of comments and use this designated system to gauge the overall sentiment of its consumers or investors.
- Exxon Mobil: Contact Us [www.exxonmobil.com]
Oftentimes, businesses may have improved their practices but have not made those changes public. However, some businesses do not fully understand the standards with which the Human Rights Campaign Foundation measures employers. If you receive a letter or e-mail back from the business, particularly if the respondent feels that they already do treat LGBT workers fairly, be sure to share share this information with the HRC Foundation's Workplace Project at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at 866-369-3348.
Choosing Businesses to Work With
- Buying for Equality is HRC's annual guide to major businesses and their consumer-facing products and services.
- How can I find an employer's non-discrimination policy? If you can't find information about a business from HRC, take a look for yourself.
- Supplier standards: discrimination policies For information on how businesses can hold their vendors to LGBT-inclusive standards.