Ma­jor com­pa­nies form group to push for LGBT rights glob­ally

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

A dozen cor­po­ra­tions, in­clud­ing Google Inc., Mi­crosoft Corp., and Coca-Cola Co., are join­ing a new coali­tion to push for LGBT rights in the work­place in places be­yond the U.S. and Western Europe.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion is partly a re­sponse to the re­cent set­backs for gay, les­bian, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der rights in coun­tries like Rus­sia, Uganda and the Mid­dle East. The Hu­man Rights Cam­paign-led group will push for pro­tec­tions in the work­place glob­ally, in­clud­ing in coun­tries where LGBT in­di­vid­u­als face le­gal dis­crim­i­na­tion or ha­rass­ment.

“They de­serve a fair chance to earn a liv­ing and pro­vide for their fam­i­lies no mat­ter where they live,” said HRC Pres­i­dent Chad Grif­fin.

Cor­po­rate Amer­ica has been cited as a force in the push for gay rights in the U.S., with some com­pa­nies of­fer­ing LGBT pro­tec­tions and same- sex part­ner ben­e­fits go­ing back decades. Hun­dreds of com­pa­nies signed state­ments advo- cat­ing for same-sex mar­riage when the is­sue to the Supreme Court ear­lier this year.

The coali­tion mem­bers are: the con­sult­ing firm Ac­cen­ture, AT&T Inc., soft­ware com­pany CA Tech­nolo­gies, Coca-Cola, Des­ti­na­tion Wed­dings Travel Group, Google, IBM, Mi­crosoft, home fur­nish­ings maker Mitchell Gold + Bob Wil­liams, con­sumer prod­ucts gi­ant Proc­ter & Gam­ble Co., china and glass­ware com­pany Re­place­ments Ltd., and Sy­man­tec Corp. HRC of­fi­cials ex­pect the group’s mem­bers to grow.

“We have long sup­ported LGBT rights, but it is very dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment pro­tec­tions for our em­ploy­ees and for their fam­i­lies when laws do not ex­ist or it’s a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment,” said Mary Snapp, cor­po­rate vice pres­i­dent and deputy gen­eral coun­sel at Mi­crosoft.

The group col­lec­tively em­ploys nearly 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple in 190 coun­tries and has com­bined an­nual rev­enue of nearly US$550 bil­lion.

The coali­tion will pro­vide the mem­bers a com­mon plat­form to talk about LGBT work­place pro­tec­tions glob­ally. It also will be a plat­form for com­pa­nies to get ad­vice on how to im­ple­ment LGBT friendly poli­cies in places where le­gal pro­tec­tions may not be there, said Deena Fi­das, di­rec­tor of HRC’s Work­place Equal­ity Pro­gram.

HRC since 2002 has is­sued a re­port yearly that scored how well large com­pa­nies dealt with LGBTspe­cific is­sues. How­ever the re­port, known as the Cor­po­rate Equal­ity In­dex, fo­cused mostly on the U.S., not else­where.

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