I went to an event hosted by EPN (Equality Professionals Network) and held at a beautiful new auditorium at Qualcomm in which HRC (Human Rights Campaign) you know the people with the equal symbol we all have on our cars, refrigerators, cubicles at work, folders and anywhere we can stick one of those labels on.
The Opening remarks given by Dan Sullivan, EVP, Human resources, Qualcomm should resonate in all industries, basically he said that Qualcomm is a business and they want to be able to pull the best of the best people from all categories and it made no sense to discriminate and lose potential top notch employees because they were LGBT.
Well Ya think! the rest should think the same, but they don’t!
The keynote speaker was Liz Cooper, manager of Corporate Programs, workplace Project for HRC in Washington, D.C.
She gave us a very informative overview of the climate today 2013-2014 in regards to LGBTQ benefits and discrimination protection in the work place.
This index was created in 2002, back then no states had same sex marriage, DOMA was unchallenged, DADT was still in the armed forces, hate crimes based on sexual orientation were not recognized federally.
Now we have same sex marriage in many states, DADT and DOMA were repealed, we have protection at the federal level on hate crimes based on sexual orientation, more and more equal rights every day, but you can still be fired in 29 states based on sexual orientation! And in 33 states based on gender identity!
20% of the wages one gets are in the form insurance and other benefits, which means that LGBT employees are working for 80% of the pay in companies that don’t give them equal benefits.
There were 252 Fortune 500 companies that were scored in 2002 and only 13 with a score of 100%
In 2013 688companies participated, in 2014 there are 735 companies participating. They are starting to see the force and power of the LGBTQ and Allies community which is 790 Billionred equal sign dollars and they are making their companies a friendlier place to work in for LGBTQ with full benefits.
Some of the new companies she mentioned were Groupon, Safeway, Wynn Vegas(hotels), GE, Nissan, Smuckers (who I had been boycotting for a while), Jcrew, Regal entertainment, etc. etc.
Anyway, everyone should go to the HRC website before you shop this holiday season.
Spend your hard earned dollars where it counts! Do not give to companies that do not respect equal rights for all!
http://www.hrc.org/apps/buyersguide/index.php#.UpKEv8Ssg68

My 2 cents!
Patti Boman
PFLAG SD