For Immediate Release: November 19, 2015
Contact: Amy Gray, firstname.lastname@example.org
LGBTQ LABOR GROUP DEMANDS HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN TO HOLD WALMART ACCOUNTABLE FOR ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBTQ WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Group calls for changes to Walmart’s high Corporate Equality Index score with the HRC in light of alleged discrimination cases involving LGBTQ workers
(Washington, D.C.) – UFCW OUTreach, the LGBTQ constituency group for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), along with the Making Change at Walmart campaign, released the following statement in response to Walmart’s high Corporate Equality Index score from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
Walmart recently received a near perfect score of 90 out of 100 for its Corporate Equality Index score from the HRC. The company received this accolade despite two discrimination suits filed by Walmart workers in the past few months and numerous stories of alleged harassment and discrimination from LGBTQ Walmart workers.
The two suits include the most recent one from Samantha Azzarano, who alleges that she was harassed and then fired from a New Jersey Walmart for being transgender. The other discrimination suit was filed by Jacqueline Cote in Massachusetts, who alleges that she was repeatedly denied when she tried to add her same-sex spouse to her Walmart health insurance.
“It’s disappointing and quite frankly irresponsible that once again HRC has issued Walmart a 90 rating in the Corporate Equality Index. This year alone, Walmart has had to defend itself in two alleged discrimination cases involving LGBTQ workers. How can HRC continue to justify a high rating for a company with this kind of record? The LGBTQ community deserves to know the full truth about Walmart and why they should spend their dollars elsewhere,” said Michele Kessler, President of UFCW OUTreach.
Throughout the year, union members and LGBTQ advocates have been telling HRC that “enough is enough,” when it comes to the HRC not holding Walmart accountable for all of the accounts of alleged discrimination and harassment experienced by that LGBTQ Walmart workers and their families.
UFCW OUTreach held meetings with HRC staffers in efforts for the organization to create a better and more comprehensive system when it comes to the Corporate Equality Index and stressed the importance of valuing companies with strong union practices. UFCW OUTreach also sent a letter to Chad Griffin, President of the HRC, calling for the organization to suspend Walmart’s high rating in light of Walmart’s stances on citywide legislation in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and statewide legislation in Arkansas, that caused serious setbacks in protections for LGBTQ people in the state.
The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, where Walmart is both a member and has a representative on the Board of Directors, voted unanimously, to support the repeal of a citywide nondiscrimination ordinance that included protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, Walmart refused to speak out against Arkansas Senate Bill 202 (SB 202), a statewide law which went into effect earlier this year that prevents any jurisdiction from passing an ordinance to ban discrimination.
“Together, we are standing up to the HRC and calling on them to hold Walmart responsible for what is happening to these LGBTQ workers. We will not stop until Walmart changes for the better, and organizations like HRC serve as true allies to LGBTQ workers and discontinue its support for companies that fail in promoting LGBTQ workers’ rights,” said Kessler.