PHILADELPHIA, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A record 389 (78%) of Fortune 500
Companies have adopted personnel policies that protect sexual orientation from
In fall 2003, Equality Forum in collaboration with the National Gay and
Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of
Commerce (CGLCC) wrote to the 177 CEOs of 2003 Fortune 500 Companies that did
not provide workplace protection based on sexual orientation requesting that
inclusion in their anti-discrimination policy. These corporations were
offered information and assistance and were informed that they would be
commended if they amended their policies before Equality Forum's International
Business Colloquium on May 1, 2004.
"The inclusion of sexual orientation is important to both gays and
lesbians and Fortune 500 Companies. There is no workplace protection for
discrimination based on sexual orientation under federal law nor in 36 states.
Including sexual orientation sends an affirming message for retaining and
recruiting gay and lesbian employees as well as to the estimated 15 million
gay and lesbian US consumers," stated Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director,
"Over the past five months, we received positive response from 66 (37%) of
the 177 noncompliant Fortune 500 Companies. Most companies told us they had
never had anyone directly address senior management about the importance to
the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community of including
sexual orientation in nondiscrimination policies. These companies wanted to
join the 323 Fortune 500 companies that provide workplace protection based on
sexual orientation. The inclusion of sexual orientation sends a message that
their workplace provides a level playing field with merit as the standard for
career advancement," stated Kevin Ray, Esq., Treasurer, Equality Forum.
According to recent Gallup polling, over 85% of Americans support
including sexual orientation in workplace nondiscrimination.
Among those firms recently including sexual orientation in their workplace
protection are ARAMARK, Eaton, Goodyear Tire, PNC Financial Services and Tyson
"This initiative is important. Congress is influenced by national business
leadership. With each additional Fortune 500 Company that protects gay and
lesbian employees, we enhance the chances that Congress will follow business
leaders and respect the will of the overwhelming majority of the U.S.
population by amending the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to include
sexual orientation," continued Lazin.
Equality Forum annually presents the largest national and international
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) civil rights forum. Equality
Forum 2004 (www.equalityforum.com), from April 26 to May 2 in Philadelphia,
has 57 events including the annual International Business Colloquium in
collaboration with the NGLCC, CGLCC and Wharton School of the University of
A full listing of the 2003 Fortune 500, including the status of their
employee nondiscrimination policies, can be found at www.equalityforum.com
For more information, please contact Alisha Simons, Communications
Associate at (215) 732-3378 x 12 or visit www.equalityforum.com.
The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is headquartered in
Washington D.C. (www.nglcc.org). Please contact co-founders Justin Nelson and
Chance Mitchell at (202) 661-3326.
The Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is headquartered in
Toronto, Ontario (www.cglcc.com). Please contact co-founders Bruce McDonald
and Darrell Schuurman at (800) 982-8586.
SOURCE Equality Forum