On Friday, August 2, 2013, following dialogue with Trillium Asset Management (Trillium), financial information provider FactSet (NYSE: FDS) updated its employment and non-discrimination policies to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression.
Trillium believes that companies and workers benefit from consistent, corporate-wide efforts to prevent discrimination, ensuring a respectful and supportive atmosphere for all employees.
“Despite being named a Fortune 100 “Best Company to Work For” in 2013, FactSet had lagged its sector peers including Thomson Reuters and MSCI Inc. in providing protections for gender identity and expression in its non-discrimination policy,” said Susan Baker of Trillium’s Shareholder Advocacy & Corporate Engagement team. “We applaud management for quickly taking the issue under advisement and in doing so demonstrating its commitment to an equal and inclusive workplace – qualities, in our view, integrally linked to long-term shareholder value creation” she continued.
Federal law does not provide sexual orientation and gender identity employment discrimination protection. However, twenty-one states, the District of Columbia and more than 140 cities and counties, have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Currently, only sixteen states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.
According to an analysis of surveys published by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law in 2007, 16 to 68 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people report experiencing employment discrimination.
The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index notes that as of January 2013 over 86% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted written nondiscrimination policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 50% of the Fortune 500 now prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression, an indication that companies are taking sexual orientation and gender identity protections seriously.