When Out Leadership was approached by the LGBT Equality Caucus of the U.S. Congress and by the offices of Representatives Jared Polis and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to participate in a discussion of the recently released U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report, Working for Inclusion: Time for Congress to Enact Federal Legislation to Address Workplace Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans, we immediately considered how we could best ensure that the conversation included the business perspective.
Out Leadership’s founder and principal Todd Sears quickly identified Richard Jeanneret, the Americas Vice Chair and Managing Partner for the Northeast Region of EY, as a business leader who could speak about the importance of nondiscrimination law to influential businesses. Out Leadership had previously been in dialogue with Mr. Jeanneret about his planned speaking appearance at our 2018 U.S. Summit; Mr. Jeanneret is personally involved on these issues in part because he is the father of an openly trans son.
When Mr. Jeanneret agreed to participate, Out Leadership engaged with him and his team at EY to support their process as he prepared his remarks, facilitating his participation in the briefing.
Mr. Jeanneret’s remarks at the briefing interwove his perspective as a business leader and his own family’s story, helping to underscore the human dimension of the ongoing debate around discrimination laws inclusive of LGBT+ people.
After the briefing, Representatives Polis and Ros-Lehtinen published a joint op-ed in The Hill about Congress’ duty to act on LGBT+ discrimination, noting: “Corporate America is on board. In fact, it’s leading the way. Successful businesses have recognized that nondiscrimination policies help them attract a competitive workforce and increase employee productivity. As of 2016, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies included sexual orientation in their equal employment opportunity policies, and 82 percent included gender identity.”