The cascading triumphs of equal rights in the public sphere means the worst discrimination of LGBT persons is behind us. Same sex couples have been marrying in England and Wales since March, and Scotland is following suit. But what about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender at work?
Protection from discrimination has been law since 2003 and the Equality Act of 2010 provides expanded rights and protections for LGBT persons. Still openness and inclusiveness can be tough to come by in the business world. Many LGBT employees feel uncertain expressing anything about their private lives or including their partners in work related situations. Alarming numbers of workers of all stripes, from the factory floor to the corporate suite, are still choosing to hide their sexual identities.
In light of the ongoing struggle, numerous brands and corporate leaders are working to demonstrate the social, mental, and business benefits of inviting workers to be their true selves.
John Browne is the former CEO of BP, his recent book The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good for Business is a deeply personal story of his double life as top executive of a major corporation and as a secretively gay man. The lessons of John’s life have inspired him to create GlassCloset.org, a website dedicated to helping businesses and individuals champion the workplace as the next frontier for equal rights for all. Ben & Jerry’s supports those efforts wholeheartedly. Here’s our Social Mission Director, Rob Michalak discussing our own transformation years ago:
The rights to be yourself at work and love whomever you choose are enshrined in the law. Our next step is to help make the workplace as inviting as possible for all employees. If you’re an LGBT employee or just interested in working towards an open and inclusive workplace here are some resources: