Gov McAuliffe honors RVA based Fortune 500 companies with LGBTQ inclusive policies
Over 40 people gathered at the William Mullen’s building in downtown RVA to watch Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Equality Virginia recognize five Richmond-based Fortune 500 companies for encouraging diversity and non-discrimination policies in the workplace.
There is currently no federal or state law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Virginia Fairness Accreditation is a project from Equality Virginia that includes an Accredited Companies program and the Equality Means Business program. The Equality Means Business program will launch at the end of this month. The five companies awarded at the reception are now a part of the Accredited Companies program.
Altria, Capital One, CarMax, Dominion, and Genworth received the Virginia Fairness Accreditation for supporting the LGBT community within their company and its employees by providing workplace protections and benefits for LGBTQ employees and their spouses.
Gov. McAuliffe’s first executive order banned discrimination in the state work force.
“My job as governor is to create the new Virginia economy,” Gov. McAuliffe said. “We face head winds. We have a lot of issues as you know with sequestration. We’ve got to create jobs. We cannot do it if we put walls up. We cannot pick and choose who or what businesses we want. I want everyone in Virginia.”
Capital One hosted the event at which they were also being honored.
“When I joined Capital One I wasn’t out. I wasn’t out to a lot of people. I definitely wasn’t out at work,” said Andy Ramamoorthy, Senior Vice President head of commercial client services and executive sponsor of the LGBT network at Capital One.
He said he actually came out while working for Cap One, and he was grateful for the steps they took to make sure he was comfortable in his job.
“One of the things that really made me feel comfortable to make that decision was the environment, and the culture, and the values that the company promoted,” said Ramamoorthy (pictured below). “[They] made me feel really safe to be able to have that conversation with my manager.”
“All of the companies here tonight are leading Virginia forward,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, who said the accreditation was created to honor companies which took this steps to support diversity despite state and federal law.
Parrish applauded the companies for valuing “inclusion and have policies in place that ensure LGBT employees will not be discriminated against simply because of who they are.”
In an Equality Virginia press release, the five Fortune 500 companies highlighted their approach to making LGBTQ employees feel included.
Dominion said encouraging LGBTQ employees to be part of their company is better for business.
“At Dominion, we want to attract and retain the best employees,” said Shannon Venable, vice president-Staffing & Diversity. “I think this recognition demonstrates that Dominion is committed to providing a respectful and inclusive work environment for all of its employees – which is fundamental to attracting and retaining the best.”
Altria, Capital One, CarMax, Dominion, and Genworth are the first companies to receive this accreditation.
“I am just so refreshed to stand here one year later after all the nonsense that went on the year before I became governor and to think what we have today folks,” Gov. McAuliffe said. “There’s not a business in the globe that we cannot recruit. All I’m asking is to follow what most Fortune 500 companies have in their own guidelines. So this really is historic. “
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