The American Sustainable Business Council Supports LGBT Rights as Good for Business

Media Release

WASHINGTON DC – Artificial barriers to employment are morally wrong, but they’re also bad for business, according to the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), representing the public policy interests of more than 250,000 responsible businesses. 

“Not only is it morally wrong for a business to discriminate against someone based on sex or sexual orientation, but it’s bad for business,” said Jeffrey Hollender, CEO of ASBC, and Co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation, commenting on ASBC’s decision to join arguments in three cases of alleged employment  discrimination based on sexual orientation heard Tuesday at the Supreme Court. 

“Research shows that companies with nondiscrimination policies for sexual orientation or gender identification have higher employee morale, better employee productivity and higher profitability. Plus, they help build welcoming and diverse communities, which benefits everyone,” said Hollender. “If you can do the job, you should get the job.  That’s the only legitimate measure of an employee.” 

ASBC joined with other business organizations to submit a friend of the court brief in support of the parties alleging discrimination. The brief says in part, “Nearly half of LGBT employees nationwide conceal their identity at work.[1]  Substantial research shows that LGBT employees perform better when their sexual orientation or transgender status is known to their coworkers (i.e., when they are “out” at work), and that businesses that employ diverse workforces outperform businesses that do not. Anti-discrimination laws thus stand to advance the bottom line of businesses.”  

A copy of the brief may be found here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/17/17-1618/107052/20190703133608268_BusinessOrganizationsBrief.pdf 

Frank Knapp, Jr., who is CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber for Commerce, a member organization of ASBC, provided input to the brief. He said, “An employee’s sexual orientation or gender identification does not harm the operations or profitability of a business. Instead, having legal protections for LGBT employees delivers many benefits to companies based in states where those protections are law. Federal protections will only strengthen and spread those benefits to all companies across the country.” 

[1] A Workplace Divided: Understanding the Climate for LGBTQ Workers Nationwide, Human Rights Campaign, 6 (2018) (hereinafter “A Workplace Divided”), https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/AWorkplaceDivided-2018.pdf?_ga=2.138415347.1726670172.1561215138-1243720071.1560984368.   

The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners, policymakers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. www.asbcouncil.org