Directly following Trillium Asset Management’s (Trillium) corporate engagement in the autumn of 2012, Sealed Air (NYSE: SEE), Reinsurance Group of American (NYSE: RGA), W.W. Grainger (NYSE: GWW) and East West Bancorp* (NASDAQ: EWBC) updated their employment and non-discrimination policies to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression.
“The success of our anti-discrimination engagements this fall is reflective of a shift in corporate America. Companies understand the importance of guaranteeing equal protection for all employees. Such protections not only have a positive impact on the lives of workers, they can also enhance a company’s competitive edge,” said Natasha Lamb, of Trillium’s Shareholder Advocacy & Corporate Engagement team.
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 conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, 16 to 68 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people report experiencing employment discrimination.
*Trillium co-filed this shareholder resolution with Walden Asset Management, who was the lead filer.
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