Scheme champions gay rights at work

An
initiative has been launched to help companies comply with forthcoming European
legislation outlawing workplace discrimination against homosexuals.

The
Diversity Champion Scheme, organised by gay and lesbian equality campaign group
Stonewall, aims to challenge sexual orientation discrimination at work before
the 2003 deadline for the implementation of the EU Equal Treatment Directive.

DCS
will provide a network for firms to share good practice.

Eight
large employers have already signed up, including the BBC, GlaxoSmithKline and
B&Q.

Stonewall’s
executive director, Angela Mason, said the group is also looking at awarding
Kite Marks to companies that develop good sexual orientation polices.

Paul
Rodgers, IBM’s director of HR for the UK and Ireland, said, "Sexual
orientation should be treated as part of diversity initiatives. The winners in
today’s competitive environment will be those companies that attract and retain
the best talent, so it is vital that everybody in IBM is proud of themselves and
the company."

Rodgers
said that in 1984 IBM was the first Fortune 500 company to add sexual
orientation to its non-discrimination policy.

It
set up a gay and lesbian network 10 months ago, which has grown to over 100
employees and has also changed its benefits package so same-sex partners are
covered by private health insurance.

www.stonewall.org.uk

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