Marriott, Hilton, American Airlines, AirBnb Join 150+ Major U.S. Companies To Oppose Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in FloridaFebruary 28, 2022 • 2:09 pm
IHG Hotels & Resorts, Oracle, and United Airlines among new signatories, joining Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, HP, Microsoft, Salesforce, Unilever, others
Henry Berg-Brousseau | 202-423-2878 | [email protected]
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Today, Marriott, Hilton, American Airlines and AirBnb, alongside more than three dozen companies with a major presence in Florida, are joining more than 150+ major companies vocally opposing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Florida and across the country – highlighting a wave of legislation targeting transgender and LGBTQ+ youth. These companies represent tens of thousands of employees in Florida. The list of signatories has more than tripled in the past year; new signatories include IHG Hotels & Resorts, Oracle, and United Airlines, among others.
Business leaders consistently report that they have difficulty with recruitment, retention, and tourism in states that debate or pass legislation that excludes LGBTQ+ people from full participation in daily life, and that includes the children of their valued employees and recruits. These policy fights negatively impact businesses operationally and financially, and needlessly put the safety and wellbeing of their team members and their families at risk.
Last year, a record 26 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were enacted into law across ten states. In 2022, at least 160 anti-LGBTQ bills are already pending in state legislatures, more than half of which specifically target transgender youth and ban them from being able to fully participate in everyday life. One bill, an anti-transgender sports ban, has already been signed into law in South Dakota. Lawmakers from coast to coast are seeking to ban transgender youth from participating in sports; criminalize medically necessary, life-saving healthcare for transgender youth; ban discussion of LGBTQ youth and families in classrooms, effectively erasing our community; revive “bathroom bills” to prohibit transgender young people from simply using the restroom at school; and even undermine companies’ own internal inclusion and safe workplace programs.
“Major businesses from across the country are standing up and speaking out against anti-transgender legislation targeted at children and other state bills impacting LGBTQ+ workers, customers, and clients,” said Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison. “Businesses understand that discriminatory laws create unsafe, unhealthy, and unjust conditions in states and communities that make life untenable for families and employees. The parents of transgender young people are being forced to make difficult decisions about where they can live and still provide their children with equal opportunity to be a young person and receive appropriate healthcare. With every bill that passes, those options become more and more limited, shrinking the space in which transgender young people are allowed to exist without fear for their safety or threats upon their health and wellbeing. Companies are choosing to support their employees and their families, and if legislators are interested in ensuring a strong business climate that attracts the top talent across the country, they must stop advancing legislation that discriminates against transgender youth and LGBTQ+ people.”
“Business leaders across a variety of innovative industries and sectors continue to make it clear that inclusive environments are pro-business environments,” said Kasey Suffredini, CEO and National Campaign Director of Freedom for All Americans, the campaign to secure LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections nationwide. “The cruel legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender young people, at the state level harm real families, and they also add to businesses’ operational, recruitment, and retention challenges in an already tight job market. As states continue to recover from the pandemic, legislators should focus on policies that lift up our local economies, not make it even more difficult for vulnerable families to take care of themselves and their loved ones.”
“The current political climate across the country is so toxic when it comes to protections for our community and Florida is not immune,” said Nadine Smith, Executive Director, Equality Florida. “It is vital that the businesses that uplift values of diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community by participating in our Pride celebrations, leverage their voices in a time when our community is under attack.”
The companies joining this statement do business, create jobs, and serve customers throughout the United States. Our businesses strongly embrace diversity and inclusion because we want everyone who works for us or does business with us to feel included and welcomed as their true, authentic selves. Fairness, equal treatment, and opportunity are central to our corporate values because we care about our employees and the customers we serve. What’s more, these values also matter to our bottom lines. Inclusive business practices lead to more productive and engaged employees, increased customer satisfaction; and, ultimately, improved competitiveness and financial performance.
We are deeply concerned by the bills being introduced in state houses across the country that single out LGBTQ individuals – many specifically targeting transgender youth – for exclusion or differential treatment. Laws that would affect access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms, unnecessarily and uncharitably single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage. They seek to put the authority of state government behind discrimination and promote mistreatment of a targeted LBGTQ population.
These bills would harm our team members and their families, stripping them of opportunities and making them feel unwelcome and at risk in their own communities. As such, it can be exceedingly difficult for us to recruit the most qualified candidates for jobs in states that pursue such laws, and these measures can place substantial burdens on the families of our employees who already reside in these states. Legislation promoting discrimination directly affects our businesses, whether or not it occurs in the workplace.
As we make complex decisions about where to invest and grow, these issues can influence our decisions. America’s business community has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws have a negative effect on our employees, our customers, our competitiveness, and state and national economies.
As business leaders dedicated to equal treatment, respect, and opportunity for all – as well as to improving the financial and investment climate across the country – we call for public leaders to abandon or oppose efforts to enact this type of discriminatory legislation and ensure fairness for all Americans.
For years, business leaders have shared the detrimental business impacts of policies and debates that exclude LGBTQ people from full participation in daily life, including negative impacts on workforce, recruitment, productivity, and bottom line.
In recent years, these policies have increasingly targeted LGBTQ youth, including a variety of attempts to isolate transgender youth and to make schools less safe and inclusive for LGBTQ young people.
These issues remain major concerns for business leaders, who are hearing concerns from employees and recruits about safety and inclusion for themselves and their children in states where such policies are pursued. The cumulative effect of these many attempts to exclude LGBTQ people is real, and these business signatories remain impacted by these issues. This letter, originally published in 2020, continues to grow as business leaders seek to ensure that their team members feel safe and included everywhere they operate.
Advance Auto Parts
Altria Group Inc.
American Honda Motor Company
Applied Materials, Inc.
Arcadis U.S. Inc.
Bayer US LLC
BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe)
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.
Block, Inc. (formerly Square, Inc.)
Boehringer Ingelheim USA
Cargo Transporters, Inc.
Center for Community Self-Help
The College Board
CSAA Insurance Group
Deckers Brands (UGG, HOKA, Teva, Sanuk, and Koolaburra by UGG)
EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Electronics
Early Warning Services, LLC
Elanco Animal Health
FactSet Research Systems, Inc.
GP Strategies Corporation
HSBC Bank USA
IHG Hotels & Resorts
IKEA North America Services, LLC
Johnson & Johnson
The Knot Worldwide
The Kraft Heinz Company
Levi Strauss & Co.
Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
Marriott International, Inc.
Molson Coors Beverage Company
New Belgium Brewing
PNC Financial Services Group
Peloton Interactive, Inc.
Red Hat, Inc.
Redfin Real Estate
Royal Bank of Canada
State Street Corporation
Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, including member companies Danone North America; Mars, Incorporated; Nestlé USA; and Unilever United States
Symetra Life Insurance Company
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Trillium Asset Management
Unilever United States
Warner Music Group
Wayside Youth & Family Support Network
Xperi Holding Corporation
Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.