If companies won't include LGBT persons in ant-discrimination policies because it's the right thing to do, maybe they'll do it because it will make them richer.
Over ninety percent of the country's largest companies state that diversity policies and generous benefits packages are good for their corporate bottom line, according to a new study from UCLA's Williams Institute. The study finds that more than half of these companies specifically state that their policies prohibiting LGBT discrimination or extending domestic partner benefits are good for business. The study is based on a review of statements issued by the top 50 Fortune 500 companies and the top 50 federal contractors when they first put these policies in place.
"This study highlights that economic benefits are a significant incentive when companies adopt LGBT-inclusive policies," said Christy Mallory, Williams Legal Research Fellow. "As employers consider adopting similar polices, and as legislatures consider codifying such policies into law, this research informs the economic consequences of their decisions," stated Mallory.
The past decade has seen a large increase in the number of corporations adopting LGBT-related workplace policies. Among the top 50 Fortune 500 companies, 48 now include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies and 70% include gender identity. Additionally, 88% extend domestic partner benefits, including health insurance to the same-sex domestic partners of employees. Among the top 50 federal contractors, 81% include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies and 44% include gender identity. Over half extend domestic partner benefits, including health insurance, to the same-sex domestic partners of employees.
"The specific reasons why these companies felt their LGBT inclusive policies had a positive business impact went beyond improving their efforts to recruit and retain the most talented employees," said Brad Sears, Roberta A. Conroy Senior Scholar of Law & Policy and Williams Institute Executive Director.
"Companies linked these policies to improving employee morale and productivity, to meeting the needs of their diverse customers, and to sparking ideas and innovation through employees, including LGBT employees, who bring different perspectives and experiences."
Beyond business justifications, the study also notes that companies adopt LGBT inclusive policies because they are consistent with their corporate values of fairness and respect and because doing so is simply "the right thing to do."
But I think the business justifications may do more toward swaying the naysayers - or those on the fence - about LGBT inclusion policies. After all, money talks.
Even if it speaks a different language sometimes, it's getting us closer to equality.