At the event, GLAAD recognised AT&T‘s LGBT-inclusive policies, including protection against discrimination, providing enhanced healthcare benefits access for legally recognised partners and transgender employees, providing enhanced retirement plan options to recognise legally recognised partners as qualified survivors, and family and medical leave for gay and lesbian employees. These items extend to all employees in formalised relationships, such as registered domestic partnerships, civil unions and same-sex marriages.
“With internal policies that make it easier for all employees to take care of their loved ones and ground-breaking external marketing campaigns, AT&T continues to raise the bar for inclusion,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “AT&T’s steadfast support for a range of education and advocacy organisations remains critical as we move closer towards equality.
Garden State Equality will recognise AT&T’s diversity practices during its Legends 2011 ceremony on June 24.
“Honouring AT&T is one of the easiest decisions we’ve ever made, for very few companies in the world rival AT&T for its commitment to diversity, equality and opportunity for all,” said Stephen Goldstein, chair and CEO, Garden State Equality. “As we researched more than 5,600 companies in considering whom to honour this year, AT&T immediately rose to the top echelon in every single category. What a thrill to be honouring a company that is a true national and international leader in diversity and fairness.”
“We are both honoured and encouraged by GLAAD’s and Garden State Equality’s recognition of AT&T’s determined efforts to foster an inclusive workplace where employees can reach their full potential regardless of background, orientation or beliefs,” said Cindy Brinkley, senior vice president, talent development and chief diversity officer.
GLAAD also recognised the role of LEAGUE at AT&T, the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender and Allies Employee Organisation at AT&T. Founded in 1987, it is the oldest LBGT employee resource group in the United States. Its members have supported such important projects as AT&T Aspire, and since 1996 have donated over $145,000 in scholarships to college-bound LGBT students. Partnering with the AT&T Foundation, LEAGUE at AT&T has also provided GED Attainment scholarships to help address the rising LGBT high school drop-out rate.
GLAAD’s award also recognises AT&T’s support in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In the mid 1980s AT&T became one of the first major U.S. corporations to help tackle the epidemic by making an unprecedented change to include HIV/AIDS in its strict non-disease-specific charitable guidelines. This bold move helped break the stigma then associated with the disease, thus paving the way for countless other corporations to follow suit. AT&T donations and thousands of employee volunteer hours have been invested in raising awareness.
AT&T is a supporter of the Human Rights Campaign, Victory Fund, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), The POINT Foundation and Lambda Legal. Since 1998, AT&T has been a proud sponsor of GLAAD and supported various grants including GLAAD’s Fellows Program, which trains and prepares young adults for future professional success by providing hands-on experience working with GLAAD staff and other media professionals.