Gender is something that follows people everywhere they go, including in the workplace. Transgender employees are constantly being discriminated against at their jobs. 21 percent of LGBTQ employees have reported being discriminated against regarding hiring, promotions and pay. As a group, we believe this is not fair. All people, no matter what their gender identity is, deserve equal rights.
One company in particular that has shown great growth with workplace acceptance and tolerance of LGBTQ employees is Starbucks. Starbucks is committed to including and accepting all. In May 2016, Lucy Helm, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, released a letter to all Starbucks employees. The letter reinforced Starbucks’ Global Human Rights Statement which reads, “Starbucks is committed to support and uphold the provision of basic human rights and to eliminate discriminatory practices.” They support their employees through everything and do not stand for inequality.
In the past, Starbucks has offered health insurance coverage to their employees who are lesbian and gay and has also supported employees that are transgender or considering transitioning. The company has expanded their health care coverage to include gender reassignment surgeries. This creates a company environment that is respectful and welcoming.
This is an image of the Starbucks headquarters raising a Gay Pride flag, recognizing the LGBTQ community.
The work environment at Starbucks has positively impacted many employees. One in particular is Shawn Orchowski. Orchowski had a difficult time coming out as transgender to his family but found “unconditional acceptance” at Starbucks because of the open and inclusive setting.
This sense of inclusion runs deep through their entire company. Each worker fully believes in the company’s goals, including Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. At an annual meeting of shareholders, one stockholder stated that Starbucks lost customers because of its support of the LGBTQ community and gay marriage. Schultz responded by explaining that not every decision a company makes is based on finances. His decision to support the LGBTQ community was made “through the lens of the people [employees and clients].”
Other companies should follow in Starbucks’ footsteps. The company strives to make everyone feel accepted and to create a space where employees and customers are not afraid to be their true selves.