It’s Time for the Equality Act
The month of June is LGBTQ Pride Month in the United States. Each year, Pride events are held nationwide in cities large and small, and for some people, it is the only occasion where they can be out and proud in their community. Pride festivals and parades are a celebration of the progress the LGBTQ community has made, but also a time to recognize the distance we still have to go to achieve full equality. This June, we’re excited to feature a guest post from Human Rights Campaign’s Liz Cooper.
By Liz Cooper, Associate Director, Workplace Equality Program, HRC Foundation
Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans. Polling done by The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the organization I work for, found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination. HRC strives to end discrimination and realize a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in the community.
A fully inclusive work culture is not only possible, it can be the new standard for employers, and my job at HRC is to engage directly with employers to identify and improve LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices. Each year, HRC releases the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking tool rating corporate policies and practices pertinent to LGBTQ employees.
By participating in the annual CEI survey and report, employers send a clear message that LGBTQ equality is a business priority. Corporate America has really led the charge on LGBTQ equality and setting standards for workplace equality has positively impacted the lives of countless employees and their families.
Symantec has been listed on the CEI for 11 consecutive years and has earned a perfect score since 2009. Symantec is one of 571 employers that earned the designation a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” in 2019. Its score reflects a continued commitment to equality, including launching the company’s Transitioning in the Workplace guidelines, which provide a clear, documented process for how to undergo a gender transition on the job and growing the Pride Employee Resource Group to serve as champions for the LGBTQ community.
Symantec has been an HRC Bronze National Partner since 2014, and has helped us in our fight for marriage equality, against HB2 (North Carolina’s discriminatory “bathroom bill”), and is part of HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act.
Working towards a federal legal standard for non-discrimination
HRC is focusing our efforts at the Federal Level to pass “The Equality Act”. We’ve recruited more than 220 of the nation’s leading businesses, including Symantec, to be a part of the Business Coalition for the Equality Act. With a combined operation in all 50 states, more than $4.7 trillion in revenue, and more than 11 million employees across the United States, these companies know how important it is to have a federal legal standard that guarantees all employees the same rights and protections — no matter where they live.
On May 17, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass The Equality Act. “This historic vote is a major milestone for equality and sends a powerful and profound message to LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ youth, that the U.S. House has their backs,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “No one’s rights should depend on which side of a state or city line they live on, and today we took a giant step forward in our journey toward full equality.”
As HRC takes the fight to the U.S. Senate and turns up the pressure on Leader McConnell to allow a vote on this crucial legislation, you can support our work by volunteering locally or donating to ensure this essential work is sustained. It’s time for The Equality Act—and we need your help as an individual, as a company, as an ally, to ensure full lived equality for all LGBTQ people.