US Labor Secretary Tom Perez has penned a blog posting to coincide with the beginning of LGBT Pride month in the US.
In the piece, he talks about how the department are working to promote opportunities for all Americans, with an emphasis on recent advances for LGBT workers.
‘Pride Month gives us an opportunity to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans have had on our nation.
‘Here at the U.S. Department of Labor, it’s also a chance for us to recommit to our efforts to ensure equal rights for LGBT workers, and to celebrate the great work we’ve done on this front,’ he begins.
‘We have a responsibility to make sure that every worker has the same opportunity to pursue and realize their dreams, and we take that responsibility very seriously. And not just because it’s the right thing to do, which it is. It’s also the smart thing to do.
‘Diverse and inclusive workplaces are productive workplaces. Our economy works best when we field a full team, so we can’t afford to leave any talent on the bench.
‘At DOL, our agencies are doing great work to advance the rights of LGBT workers. We’ve worked to implement the president’s Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
‘We’ve taken steps to make sure that all families receive the benefits and protections of our programs and services.
‘We’ve made clear that job training and other workforce programs in the nation’s workforce development system may not discriminate against someone because of gender identity, gender expression or sex-stereotyping. We’ve worked to make workplaces more inclusive for transgender workers.
‘And we’ve done so much more. In fact, you can read about all of the work we’ve done to protect and empower LGBT workers in a new report: 1.usa.gov/1FPeKGy.
‘We’re proud of our accomplishments on behalf of LGBT workers and job seekers and their families. Of course, for all our progress, there remains more work to do.
‘As we celebrate pride month, we also celebrate our continued commitment to building on our accomplishments going forward so that every person in our nation can realize their highest and best dreams, no matter who they are or whom they love.
Perez’s comments were welcomed by those working in the field of LGBTI diversity and inclusion.
‘Secretary Perez’s statement ushering in this year’s LGBT Pride month comes at a time during which employers’ commitment to LGBT inclusion – both public and private sectors – is at an all-time high,’ said Deena Fidas, head of Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program.
‘From the dramatic rise in businesses adopting gender identity protections and transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to yesterday’s OSHA guidance on transgender-inclusive restrooms and facilities, employers are focusing on creating and sustaining transgender-inclusive workplaces.
‘In addition, as the nation awaits the imminent Supreme Court decision on marriage, the full weight of hundreds of major employers is behind an historic amicus brief attesting to the fact that marriage equality is good for business.’
Selisse Berry, Founder and CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, also praised Perez for his words.
‘Secretary Perez’s statement on LGBT workplace protections echoes what we’ve known at Out & Equal for nearly 20 years: inclusive, welcoming workplaces are good for people and business.
‘We applaud Secretary Perez for speaking out about the importance of LGBT workplace equality in honor of Pride month, and for the strides made to protect LGBT federal employees. We’re excited for the day when we’ll see these values extend to federal protections for all LGBT people.’
— Tom Perez (@LaborSec) June 1, 2015