How are you celebrating National Coming Out Day?
Well, if you work at one of the many companies that have employee resource groups, you might be sitting at a table with a display and information.
Then again, you may be working at a company like Geico.
Employees in the company’s diversity group in Richardson planned a celebration during lunch with a display. The company stopped that, “because it would be a sensitive subject to some of our employees to discuss.”
Yet the company has allowed displays for Women’s History Month, Black History Month and Cinco de Mayo.
In order to not offend anyone, the table and exhibit were replaced by the company with a one-paragraph, easy-to-delete email that mentions it’s National Coming Out Day.
Geico is a division of Berkshire Hathaway. So are Nebraska Furniture Mart, BNSF, Acme Brick, Fruit of the Loom and many others. On the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, Berkshire receives a score of zero. That means it doesn’t even have a simple, no-cost nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation or gender identity.
Other insurance companies with offices in the DFW area include AIG, CNA, MetLife, Nationwide, New York Life, State Farm and Travelers, all of which have a rating of 100. Liberty Mutual, which is moving its headquarters to Plano, has an 85.
Some companies with low ratings don’t actually translate those poor policies into outright discrimination. Geico did. After the Pulse shooting, a gay couple, who each work for different insurance companies, discovered that where you work makes a difference. They had lost a friend in the massacre. The partner who worked at New York Life was offered counseling by his company. The partner who worked at Geico was sent home on leave.
When employees tried to put together an LGBT employee resource group at Geico, they were accused of trying to start a union and threatened with dismissal.
According to sources, even the promised National Coming Out Day email never went out, going back on the little the company’s area management said they would do.