By John Curtis, manager of Lease Marketing for Xerox
Progress toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality has picked up tremendous momentum.
“Forward-looking leaders work to embrace diverse perspectives, and provide reasonable and equal opportunities for all employees.”– John Curtis, co-president of GALAXe, the caucus group that advocates for LGBT employees at Xerox
- Legal recognitions at the federal level in the U.S.
- Marriage recognition in many U.S. states.
- Acceptance around the world from the boardroom to neighborhoods.
This is good news for individuals and families who aspire to reach their full potential in their communities and in their careers. Fair-minded companies lead the way to ensure that workplaces and decisions are free from prejudice. Forward-looking leaders work to embrace diverse perspectives, and provide reasonable and equal opportunities for all employees.
But we still have work to do. In 29 states in the U.S., employers may fire employees simply for being perceived as LBGT (Source: Human Rights Campaign, map of Statewide Employment Laws And Policies). In 78 countries, LGBT individuals can be put in jail or worse; in five countries, they may receive the death penalty. (Source: The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans And Intersex Association, map of Lesbian and Gay Rights in the World.)
At Xerox, employee caucus groups help our leaders define and achieve inclusion goals, full participation, and employee engagement. For LGBT diversity, more than 500 employees are members of GALAXe, Pride at Work. (Straight allies and executives make up 25 percent of our membership.)
GALAXe members collaborate to foster a work environment where all employees treat each other with equality and respect; where individuality contributes to high-performing teams; where organizations work together to achieve common business objectives. Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox’s chief technology officer and corporate champion for GALAXe agrees. “No matter your colleagues’ sexual orientation or gender identity, it is essential to create an inclusive environment where everyone can bring not only their intellect but also their passion to work,” she says
Diversity as a Business Value-Add
We also work to achieve these goals in our communities with other businesses and LGBT organizations. One resource is our partnership with Out and Equal Workplace Advocates and their 20 Steps to an Out & Equal Workplace. This is a set of tools and best practices that can develop equality in the workplace LGBT employees. These tools have five key sections, and I’m sure you’ll find them useful:
- Equal Policies & Benefits
- Talent Management & Professional Development
- Workplace Climate
- Community Commitment
- Advocacy & Corporate Responsibility
Xerox is a Best Place to Work for LGBT Employees
This work has not gone unnoticed.
The Human Rights Campaign has granted Xerox a top score 100 percent on its Corporate Equality Index, and they include us on their list of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.” Moreover, Xerox is one of 10 companies to have achieved and sustained this 100 percent rating each and every year since inception. That’s 13 consecutive years.
Supporting LGBT inclusion and workplace equality is more than the right thing to do: It is critical for companies and leaders in the 21st century who want to achieve business goals and improve bottom-line results.