Why LGBT equality in the workplace is a big deal

CA scored a perfect 100% in Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. I asked CA’s LGBT network lead Meghan Stabler what this means.

Meghan is an Advisor within CA’s IT Business Operations and also serves on the Human Rights Campaign National Board of Directors and their National Business Advisory Council.

What does the Business Advisory Council do?

The BAC is representative of a range of industries in corporate America, with council members holding a number of key executive roles within our own companies. We discuss and recommend new LGBT related HR policy and benefits, provide a national benchmarking survey (the Corporate Equality Index), and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality.

Since 2002 we have focused on what was missing in employee benefits for LGBT employees. These might include time off for childcare, healthcare benefits, transgender inclusion or equality training.

As more employers got on board, we raised the bar. For example, until 2010, our benchmarking survey did not require companies to include transgender related medical coverage in their healthcare benefits. To get a 100% score companies were required to remove the exclusion. We helped progressive organizations work with their benefits providers to include access to hormone treatment and surgical coverage for gender reassignment in healthcare plans.

Why does ranking high in the HRC Corporate Equality Index matter?

The Corporate Equality Index is a national benchmarking survey on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality. Getting a 100% ranking makes us more attractive for LGBT job applicants.

We can use their logo in our recruitment efforts. There is also a search capability for job seekers on the Human Rights Campaign website. People looking for a new job can search for LGBT friendly companies and send their resume. This feature is widely used by the LGBT community when they’re figuring out the companies for whom they’d like to work.

Why is it important to have a diversity policy?

From a business standpoint, diversity of perspective, experience and thought drive better business outcomes. Diverse teams create better products and companies who embrace what makes their employees unique tend to be more successful.

From an employee’s perspective, it’s especially important in more conservative areas where LGBT people face resistance. In Texas, where I live, there is no workplace protection for being LGBT. It’s the same in many other states too. If I worked at another company, I could be fired for my identity and there is nothing anyone could do about it.

Simply put, even with marriage equality being the law of the land in the USA since June of 2015, you could be married on a Saturday but fired from work on a Monday because you married someone of the same sex.

It is essential that companies stand up against this with strong internal policies. Thankfully, CA is a progressive company and our policies reflect inclusivity and protections for LGBT employees. Regardless of where you work at CA, you know you can put a photo of your same sex partner on the desk and be fully accepted.

Not only are you fully accepted, but you will also receive all the same benefits as your non-LGBT colleagues. From a benefits perspective there are very few other companies that I’d even want to work for.

Does CA’s diversity policy apply also outside the U.S.?

It applies in all the locations where the company operates. In some locations it’s more challenging to execute than others. I speak with our LGBT employees in India for example and they are scared to come out. As a company we support them but culturally it’s not always an easy situation.

The benefit of CA being 100% behind equality is that it sends a positive signal for employees working in locations where it might not be safe to be out. Besides countries like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, this includes some of the more conservative U.S. states.

Read more details on how CA supports its LGBT employees in our recent press release. You can download the 2016 Corporate Equality Index here.

 


Heidi is a Communications Director at CA. She leads cross-functional programs responsible for digital publishing…

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