How the Boy Scouts may be helping LGBT Inclusion at work
A company I work for is a fortune 500 that has a 100% rating on the HRC Corporate Equality Index for 2010. It has sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in its EEO statement. Tis company is also involved in the community with various activities, including having Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities on campus. The company also has a Diversity Council as well as an LGBT PRIDE Affinity Group. I am the president of the LGBT PRIDE Affinity Group and also a member of the Diversity Council. The local Ethics Office head is also a member of the LGBT PRIDE Affinity Group.
A few weeks ago, a Boy Scout Merit Badge clinic was held on company property by one of the management clubs of the company and was open to all company employees to help with the clinic. Our Affinity Group is only a year old and we have been looking for activities to partner with other company clubs/organizations.
I saw an oportunity. When we formed the affinity group, the company was very insistant that the group was open to all individuals, even to the the point of refusing to allow “confidential” memberships to those that were uncomfortable being associated with PRIDE because they did not want to “Out” themselves. So, when this Boy Scout clinic came along, I asked our group if they wanted to participate in the clinic. We had a few agree, so I asked our member who is the Ethics site Director to ask if our PRIDE AG could volunteer at the clinic.
What really made the request fun, was I mentioned to the Ethics Director that the company really could not say “No”, given their EEO policy and Diversity and Inclusion statements before he took the request to management.
Management did not say “No” to our request, what they said was “Given the history and policies of the Boy Scouts, our AG should look for some other venue to volunteer at.”
Bottom line, our Ethics Director and Executive Sponsor have the action to come up with a presentation that will be approved by the AG officers and then the Director and Sponsor with make the presentation to the company management to educate them where they are defficient in following their owm policies.
Longer part after the fold.
After we were told to take our volunteer efforts elsewhere, I wrote a letter to the Ethics Director and the Executive Sponsor pointing out how the Ethics Director, by being a member of the AG could no longer participate in Boy Scout activities, how he was now guilty by association with being immoral in the eyes of the Boy Scout leadership. I let them know that I was not againsthaving the Boy Scout clinic again next year, the company should invite the Boy Scouts back but that the company should make it clear to the Boy Scouts that all company employees are eligible to volunteer and that some employees may be LGBT or non-religious. I said the company should let the Boy Scouts decide if they want to come back, not have the company decide what employees cannot participate.
The Executive Sponsor and the Ethics Director and I sat down for a conversation over my letter and we discussed how the company was not as far along on the Inclusion front as the sponsor and Ethics Director thought we were and that is when they came up with the idea to educate management of their deficency and the need to follow policy.
Another part of the story was when our AG went to put out the minutes of the group meeting where we talked about participating in the Boy Scout clinic. When the Secretary got the input from management asking us not to participate, the Secretary decided to delete all portions relating to even thinking about participating in the Boy Scout Event so we would not upset the members about being discriminated against. This was after the Executive Sponsor and the Ethics Director had already approved a version of the minutes with the Bot Scout turn down included.
From my perspective, I think our PRIDE AG is making an effort at increasing inclusion at our company.