Neiman Marcus Group, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and VF Corp. are among the retailers and fashion firms achieving a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign corporate equality index, which measures corporate policies and practices for LGBTQ workplace equality.
HRC has officially recognized NMG as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.”
“As a gay man and one of a few openly gay CEOs, it has been a mission of mine to ensure that all associates feel like they belong at Neiman Marcus Group,” Geoffroy van Raemdonck, NMG’s chief executive officer, said Wednesday. “I am proud of NMG’s recent recognition as the ‘Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality’ and know there is still significant work that needs to be done. I am personally committed to this mission and am excited to continue evolving our ‘Belonging’ programs, partnerships and initiatives to ensure every community is seen, heard and supported.”
NMG in spring 2021 completed the HRC’s corporate equality index for the first time to benchmark and improve workplace policies and practices that support the LGBTQ community and advance equity. In its announcement Wednesday, NMG indicated that as a result of the index, the company has enhanced its policies and code of conduct to include protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and gender transition guidelines.
NMG said it has also ensured equivalent benefits for same- and different-sex spouses and domestic partners, including health, dental and vision insurance, and dependent coverage, as well as relocation/travel assistance, family and medical leave benefits, and employee discounts. NMG has more than 9,000 associates.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said it got a perfect score on the CEI for the 16th consecutive year. “This rating is a testament to the values that guide our company and to our corporate purpose, which is to be here for you on the journey to being and becoming who you are,” said Fran Horowitz, A&F’s CEO. “We strive to weave this purpose, as well as our support of the LGBTQ+ community, throughout our company’s policies, benefits, culture, brand partnerships, marketing, product collections and more. We look forward to continuing these efforts throughout 2022 and beyond.”
A&F initiatives include a Pride associate resource group aimed at providing a greater sense of belonging and ongoing educational resources, training materials and programming to foster workplace equity and inclusion of all gender expressions. Also, the company supports The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, and since 2017, Hollister has partnered with GLSEN, an education organization creating safe and inclusive K-12 schools for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.
“At VF, we strive to create and sustain an enabling environment where all our associates, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can feel supported, safe and celebrated at work,” said Lauren Guthrie, vice president, global inclusion, diversity, equity and action. “To our LGBTQ+ colleagues and their allies, we celebrate this honor with you and we stand with you every day.”
According to research from HRC, LGBTQ individuals make up 8 percent of the U.S. population, but less than 1 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.
Other retail and fashion companies scoring 100 on the HRC CEI index are Ralph Lauren, Adidas North America, AlixPartners, Bath & Body Works, Estée Lauder Companies, Etsy, eBay, Gap, Fossil Group, J. Crew Group, Kohl’s, Levi Strauss, Macy’s, Nike, Qurate Retail Group, PVH, Sephora, Tapestry, Target, The Knot, Tiffany, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart and Kering Americas.
At a recent black-tie dinner in Dallas, where NMG is based, the retailer made a $250,000 donation to benefit HRC and Dallas nonprofits supporting the LGBTQ community. The money was raised through the Neiman Marcus Group and point-of-sale donations from customers. NMG partnered with the HRC during Pride Month, implementing point-of-sale fundraising in Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Neiman Marcus Last Call stores.
NMG will have access to VIP policy briefings covering the latest developments within the community and overall LGBTQ equality movement, including public policy briefings and legislative briefings. The company will also have access to HRC subject matter experts on transgender inclusion in the workplace, LGBTQ self-identification best practices, being an ally, and more.
“NMG is a place where everyone belongs, where diversity of thought is valued, and where showing up as your full and authentic self is expected and encouraged,” said Eric Severson, NMG’s chief people and belonging officer.
“When the Human Rights Campaign Foundation created the corporate equality index 20 years ago, we dreamed that LGBTQ+ workers, from the factory floor to corporate headquarters, in big cities and small towns, could have access to the policies and benefits needed to thrive and live life authentically,” said Jay Brown, Human Rights Campaign senior vice president of programs, research and training. “We are proud that the corporate equality index paved the way to that reality for countless LGBTQ+ workers in America and abroad. But there is still more to do, which is why we are raising the bar yet again to create more equitable workplaces and a better tomorrow for LGBTQ+ workers everywhere.”
The Human Rights Campaign is considered the largest national advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans, with more than three million members and supporters nationally.