Earlier this year, Unum was named one of the most inclusive places to work in the United States by the nation’s largest civil rights organization for LGBTQ+, receiving a perfect inclusion score for protecting employees who identify as bisexual, transgender or queer.
But the company isn’t resting on its laurels, as it commits greater resources to foster a workplace that welcomes diverse backgrounds and perspectives and where every employee feels valued and respected.
That begins with providing progressive benefits for same-sex couples and transgender employees, including parity for different- and same-sex spouses, domestic partner benefits for same sex couples, and health care coverage for procedures related to gender transition. Additionally, the company’s equal opportunity employment, non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies specifically protect LGBTQ+ employees.
Unum also offers a variety of programming and training opportunities for all employees to learn about issues such as unconscious bias and inclusion in the workplace. These efforts are led by Unum’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group (ERG) – a community of 150 employees who develop and support education and advocacy efforts.
For Pride month, the ERG arranged for Mary Bonauto, lawyer and civil rights advocate who argued for marriage equality in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, to speak to Unum employees about LGBTQ+-related issues and how everyone can get involved.
“With prodding, our nation can continue to live up to its principles of justice, liberty and equality for all, including for LGBTQ people,” she said during the event at Unum. “Pride Month is a great time to lift up our whole community, including the families, friends and allies who recognize this struggle for justice and freedom as their own.”
The ERG also arranged a cross-campus employee education panel, where Unum employees discussed what it’s like being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, both at home and at work.
“This panel was an opportunity for employees to hear from their coworkers in the LGBTQ+ community on a very personal level,” said Miranda “MJ” Fillebrown, learning consultant in Portland and panelist. “Our goal is to put a human face and voice to topics that can sometimes feel relegated to only diversity events or HR issues. But, in reality, all of us navigate topics like inclusion, equality and bringing your whole self to work every day — that includes LGBTQ+ identified folks, their allies and all employees.”
Benn May, a panelist from our Portland office, said “it’s a hard-won victory to be who I am” and encouraged people to “always find a way to celebrate who you are.” Stephen Plumitallo, from our New York office, talked about the benefits a company gains when employees have the support to be themselves. “When I’m out, you get all of me at work as an employee. The whole package,” he said.
From rainbow-themed group photos to local parades and networking events, Unum employees have been busy showing their Pride this month, but their march continues year-round to help Unum become the most inclusive, diverse and welcoming company in the employee benefits market.
Visit Unum’s 2018 Corporate Responsibility site to learn more about the company’s inclusion and diversity efforts, and for other ways the company is making a positive difference in people’s lives every day.