Stonewall announces top global employers for LGBT equality


A pro-LGBT activist during the annual Katowice Equality March in Poland
Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/PA Images

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality charity Stonewall has announced its Top Global Employers for 2020.

Seventeen organisations, dominated by law firms and financial services companies, have been recognised for their outstanding commitment to LGBT employment equality around the world.

The Global Workplace Equality Index (GWEI) benchmarks workplace culture for LGBT staff in multinational organisations. Now in its ninth year, the index was created by Stonewall to push LGBT equality forward internationally. Organisations with offices around the world work in partnership with Stonewall to ensure their LGBT staff can be themselves at work.

Nancy Kelley, chief executive of Stonewall, said: “The progress we’ve made towards LGBT equality has never felt more fragile, so it’s inspiring to see the work our Top Global Employers are doing to protect and support their LGBT staff in some extremely difficult contexts.

Stonewall Top Global Employers 2020

  • Accenture
  • Allen & Overy
  • Baker McKenzie
  • BP
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  • Dentons
  • Fidelity International
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • GSK
  • Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Hogan Lovells
  • HSBC
  • NatWest
  • Pinsent Masons
  • Simmons & Simmons
  • Vodafone
  • Zurich Insurance

“We know that getting this right isn’t easy, but it is vital – especially because not all parts of the world are progressing at the same pace.”

Anti-LGBT legislation still exists in 70 countries, and 120 countries don’t have any laws protecting LGBT people from employment discrimination.

The international environment is constantly changing and, said Stonewall, this means multinational companies cannot apply a one-size-fits-all approach to LGBT inclusion.

Companies must work within ever-changing parameters at the same time as ensuring that their LGBT employees feel included and supported across the board.

Kelley added: “While some countries moved forward this year, like Gabon, who decriminalised same-sex relationships, others, like Poland and Hungary, have rowed back the rights of LGBT people. All of this has been happening while we are still living through a global pandemic that’s hitting some LGBT people harder than others.

“That’s why it’s crucial for companies like our Top Global Employers to step up and make sure their LGBT staff and customers are looked after. Multinational companies have a powerful part to play in driving equality and progress in society. With their help, every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person can be accepted without exception, wherever they are in the world.”

Organisations participating in the GWEI are assessed on their HR policies, training, staff engagement, leadership, monitoring, procurement, community engagement and understanding local context, global mobility, and additional in-country activity.

Special awards were also given to five of the employers. Allen & Overy’s A&Out Network received the LGBT Network Award, HSBC won the Ally Programme Award, and Accenture was awarded for its community engagement. Igor Ostrowski, partner and global co-chair of technology, media and telecommunications at Dentons, received the Senior Champion Award, while the Trans Inclusion Award went to Baker McKenzie.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer senior partner Edward Braham said, “LGBTQ+ inclusion sits firmly at the heart of Freshfields’ global diversity and inclusion strategy, and being recognised by Stonewall for the work that our people do every day is an achievement of which we are proud. We will continue to prioritise creating a supportive working environment for all who work at the firm.”

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