Freedom of expression, at least in westernized societies, should be an inalienable right. But where does the LGBTQ community stand in 2018? How safe is it to be proud and out in the workplace and how can the power of the individual voice help?
Time to Keep Pushing
There’s been plenty to savor in the last few years. The freedom to marry, in the United States, as a shining example. People celebrated even more when Australia stepped up to the plate for the gay community and recognized this most treasured of human rights. Yet while this marvelous institution is very important and worth celebrating, it’s also necessary to keep an eye on workplace rights, which affect those who are suffering on a day by day basis.
It can sometimes be an uphill battle to push more inclusive policies and attitudes into the workplace. Some organizations are proactive and welcoming while others still have their corporate head in the sand and do not. Walmart, here’s looking at you.
Why is it so difficult to come up with a definitive report about workplace inclusion? Because much of the negative news goes unreported and data can lag far behind, often years. Sometimes, a company may build their case to end an openly gay employee and will only act much later.
“Open Invest” to the Rescue
In recent times, however, it has become easier to understand which of the larger corporations are pro-inclusion and which are not. Much of the donkey work here is down to Joshua Levin, who established a company called Open Invest, which helps to steer investors toward companies that may align with their views, standards and objectives.
As it may not always be practical to expect a company’s board of directors to act by themselves, sometimes change needs to come from a different direction.
Most of these larger companies figure on the stock exchange and rely on shareholder sentiment and individual investment. If enough people vote with their bank accounts, the “people” can make their own statement and that just might prompt necessary change.
Human Rights Campaign
Open Invest relies, in part, on data provided by the Human Rights Campaign, which produces the Corporate Equality Index each year. As they analyze, the HRC ranks each company on how they treat LGBTQ employees. This includes not just day by day policies, but whether they pay domestic partner benefits or whether they have stated their support of the community.
Power to the People
If you sign up and filter your results according to the Corporate Equality Index, you will only invest in companies that towards the top of the index and will ignore those that are not. If more people do this and the companies notice this growing trend, then that may just pull these corporate behemoths into the 21st-century.