The State of LGBTQ Workplace Equality

The State of LGBTQ Workplace Equality

As proud members and allies of the LGBTQ community, Nyhus believes everyone deserves the right to work in a safe, accepting culture. We take pride in fostering an environment where employees are free to be themselves.

This past year, the LGBTQ community has endured acts of violence, hate speech and legislation undermining basic human rights. Despite this, our community continues to make progress, and nowhere has this progress been more apparent than the workplace.

Each year, the Human Rights Campaign releases their Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a survey rating global workplaces on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. The 2017 index marked a year of formidable progress, with 515 of the 887 employers surveyed posting a perfect CEI score. To put those numbers in perspective, only thirteen businesses achieved a perfect CEI score when the survey was first conducted in 2002.

This year’s survey results found the most significant progress achieved by businesses was the adoption of inclusive transgender initiatives, as well as transgender-inclusive health care coverage.

Thirteen companies headquartered in Washington received a perfect CEI score, earning the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.” This stellar list of companies includes Microsoft, Expedia, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Alaska Airlines, T-Mobile, Perkins Coie, Outerwall, Slalom, Razorfish, Lane Powell PC, Group Health Cooperative and Davis Wright Tremaine.
Eight other Washington-based firms responded to the CEI, but did not receive perfect scores. Falling just short were REI, Weyerhaeuser, Amazon and Redfin.

Overall, the CEI finds these eight employers are largely on track towards achieving a perfect equality score and identifies several opportunities for them to affirm their commitment to equality. One opportunity mentioned is to ensure that diversity and inclusion training are integrated into the skills and policy based-training employers require. The CEI also recommends employers make serious and frequent efforts to positively engage the external LGBTQ community, as well as establish internal guidelines that prohibit philanthropic giving to non-religious organizations with an explicit policy of discrimination against LGBTQ people. Finally, the CEI’s scoring system penalizes employers for not offering transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage and several Washington employers have yet to adapt to these progressive expectations.

Businesses are stepping up to combat discrimination. The promising results of 2017 paint a picture of progress, but there is still more to be done. As a minority owned business we were so proud to be recognized as one of the region’s largest LGBTQ-owned companies in the PSBJ’s annual Business of Pride edition. We are honored to work with clients who care deeply about their employees, who strive for stronger communities through inclusion and equality and who lead the way for our state to be a welcoming and thriving place for all. Congrats to our clients Alaska Airlines, Expedia, Group Health Cooperative and David Wright Tremaine for your perfect scores.

And to the Washington companies who are striving for perfection – thank you for your effort to make Washington a great place to live and work, we’re rooting for you.