Sara Whitman

FedEx Delivers to the Transgender Community

Filed By Sara Whitman | July 14, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: FedEx, Memphis, nondiscrimination, transgender

A few months ago, I was asked by a transgender activist in Tennesee to look into FedEx's policy regarding gender identity. I did, and I went to the one place I knew would do something about it- NorthStar Asset Management, Inc. What began as a very basic shareholder resolution has now turned into a fascinating story.

Before the ink was dry on the press release, a Christian website, OneNewsnow, had called Julie Goodridge for an interview. How they found out is unknown at this time. As often is the case on the internet, it's gone wild andthe RightWingNuts have decided to give it their own little twist - last I read Huffington Post requested that FedEx change it's policy - nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is in the press release that follows. I did work with NorthStar Asset Management to change the policy at FedEx- more companies to follow. That was not information given in the interview but... it's fine. It's true.

But like a game of telephone, the facts are being quickly distorted. Let the following set the record straight, so to speak, and please write FedEx a letter or email of support- they are getting hammered for doing this very basic act of decency.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2009
CONTACT: Julie Goodridge
NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.
PO Box 301840
Boston, MA 02130
617-522-2635
jgoodridge@northstarasset.com

FedEx Delivers to the Transgender Community

NorthStar Asset Management, Inc., a portfolio management company in Boston, is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with FedEx Corporation, a provider of transportation and business solutions, for the creation of an official FedEx policy that is inclusive of gender identity.

"We filed a resolution seeking protection against any form of job discrimination based on gender identity, and FedEx responded with a desire to understand and incorporate such a policy," said Julie Goodridge, CEO of NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, transgender people face disproportionate amounts of discrimination in virtually all areas of life, especially in employment and health care. Congress and the Obama Administration have been slow to act on passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (a proposed bill that would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity) and because of this; an increasing number of companies - often after being confronted with shareholder resolutions regarding gender identity - are adding appropriate protections. According to the Human Rights Campaign's State of the Workplace 2008 report, currently 35% of Fortune 500 companies, and over 60% of the top 100 Fortune-ranked businesses, have inclusive employment policies, and have added gender identity to their diversity and sensitivity programs.

"Transgender people suffer the greatest amount of discrimination in the workforce and have little recourse due to the lack of protection under state and federal law," Goodridge noted. "While it is unfortunate that the Federal government has yet to pass an inclusive Non-Discrimination Act that includes all people, thankfully there are U.S. corporations like FedEx who are determined to protect and value all of their workers...they are leading the way potentially years ahead of Capitol Hill."

Marisa Richmond, Ph.D., President of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition - located in the state where the corporate headquarters of FedEx resides - said "We are pleased that FedEx is expanding its non-discrimination policy to include gender identity. By recognizing the value and contributions of transgender workers, we believe the company will benefit from those contributions, and that this will allow their current and future employees the opportunity to help the company move forward."

Forbes Magazine recognized FedEx in March 2009 as one of the most admired companies in the world; NorthStar applauds this most recent step that shows the company's continuing desire to create a safe working environment.

NorthStar Asset Management, Inc. is a wealth management firm based in Boston, specializing in socially responsible investing.


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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 14, 2009 10:02 AM

Well done Sara.

What nice news to wake up to. :)

Thank you, Sara. I am not sure what your connection to Northstar Asset Management is, but I am grateful for your willingness to take the initiative and to put in the work that brought about this increase in rights.

At first I thought they would "refuse to deliver" for trans people. It turns out it's more about employment.
Anyway, good job people

I used to work for NorthStar and am a good friend of Julie's. just one of the very few socially responsible investment firms that will go after who ever, when ever, for LGBT rights.

I think the title to this post could also be "Sara Whitman Delivers to the Transgender Community" too...

*grins*

I really appreciate this effort, Sara, and congratulations on the win. However, I'm concerned that there isn't an accompanying or joint press release directly from FedEx as well. I'm not trying to be a skunk at the picnic. But since it's their policy, it really is for them to say that it has been changed. After all, they could (rightly) claim that Julie doesn't speak for their company.

We might give them the credit for changing the policy because of this announcement, but FedEx might not feel obligated to follow through with it if they aren't acknowledging it as their own. I look for loopholes and indications of veracity when it comes to politics and public announcements.

well, it's tricky. Fedex believed their policy WAS inclusive. They agreed to be more specific in their language.

on the other hand, they were very very open to changing the wording. please understand, they were great through the negotiations. they wanted to do the right thing- and lemme tell you, a lot of companies do not.

fedex deserves a big round of applause.

The question is whether the company will actually be proactive in their policies. Mine had Transgender happy PR crap, but when it came down to it, they were crap.