January 24, 2013
Trillium Engagement Leads to Non-Discrimination Policies at Four Companies
by Robert Kropp
While employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender remains common, a
majority of Fortune 500 companies now include protections in their employment policies.
Trillium Asset Management, the Boston-based
sustainable investment firm, announced this week that as a result of shareowner engagements
undertaken by it last fall, four corporations agreed to employment and non-discrimination policies
that explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity
The four companies agreeing to do so
are Sealed Air, East West BankCorp, Reinsurance Group of America, and W.W. Grainger.
According to a recent repo
rt by the Williams Institute, employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender (LGBT) people remains common in the US.
"As recently as 2010, 78% of
respondents to the largest survey of transgender people to date reported having experienced
harassment or mistreatment at work," the Institute stated. "Research consistently shows that LGBT
people continue to face high rates of discrimination in the workplace and that state and federal
protections could consequently have a significant and positive impact for LGBT workers without
overly burdening employers."
While Federal law does not prohibit employment discrimination
against sexual orientation and gender identity, "21 states, the District of Columbia and more than
140 cities and counties, have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation,"
And according to the recently published Corporate Equality
Index of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a majority of Fortune 500 companies now include
both sexual orientation and gender identity protections in their employment policies.
numbers are irrefutable," HRC Foundation President Chad Griffin wrote. "The more successful a
business is in the United States, the more likely it is to embrace equality."
of our anti-discrimination engagements this fall is reflective of a shift in corporate America,"
Natasha Lamb of Trillium said. "Companies understand the importance of guaranteeing equal
protection for all employees. Such protections not only have a positive impact on the lives of
workers, they can also enhance a company's competitive edge."
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