Five of the six New England states have made a top 10 list of best places for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) individuals to work according to a new XpertHR report. In an October 3 press release, the states of Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut round out the list of top 10 states.
The report evaluated the states that offer the most progressive and friendly work environment for LGBT individuals. Unsurprisingly, most of the states were in the northeast where gay rights are more progressive.
Peggy Carter-Ward, Head of Content, XpertHR states:
"Although federal law does not protect LGBTs from employment discrimination, a number of states have enacted laws protecting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals. These states are leaders in safeguarding LGBTs against discrimination in the workplace -- by passing gay rights ordinance, permitting same-sex marriage, providing benefits to same-sex partners, and/or outlawing hate crimes."
Employers recognizing LGBT issues and implicating programs and policy's to protect all employees is even more important now since the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down back in June. Many companies across the country had to prepare for the effects of DOMA's demise and recognize the many benefits now available on the federal level for employees who are in same-sex marriages.
Currently, fifty-two percent of the LGBT population lives in states that do not prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientations or gender identity. As cultural shifts and legal trends have began to change, companies have been advised to review current policies and strategies to make sure they are up to par with these changes,
More importantly, companies are challenged to create comfortable working atmospheres for their LGBT employees that is way Massachusetts' companies like MassMutual and Baystate Health Systems have been named top places to work for by LGBT employees. Not only do they provide benefit assistance, they also have established programs for their employees to ensure a supportive environment.
The report also examined state-specific laws protecting against and prohibiting discrimination, states offering same-sex marriage and other benefits, state laws on hate crimes and the positive social environments created for LGBT employees.
The top 10 LGBT-employment friendly states comprise of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, California, Iowa, Minnesota and Washington. All 10 states recognize same-sex marriage. New Hampshire was the only New England state not to make the top 10 list.