Verizon leaders join tech industry in calling for non-discrimination protections for LGBT people

By: Donna Epps

Verizon values diversity and inclusion in our workplace. These are principles as fundamental to our business as innovation, and reflect our approach to our employees and the communities where we live, work and serve. That’s why today Verizon's Chairman & CEO Lowell C. McAdam, Executive Vice President & President of Operations John G. Stratton, and Executive Vice President & President of Product Innovation & New Businesses Marni M. Walden added their names to a historic statement released by the Human Right Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. The statement calls for non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and an end to legislation in the states that could enable discrimination against LGBT people, and includes the names of more than 100 other senior corporate leaders from the technology industry. The statement reads:

“The values of diversity, fairness and equality are central to our industry. These values fuel creativity and inspiration, and those in turn make the U.S. technology sector the most admired in the world today.

“We believe it is critically important to speak out about proposed bills and existing laws that would put the rights of minorities at risk. The transparent and open economy of the future depends on it, and the values of this great nation are at stake.

“Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws. No person should have to fear losing their job or be denied service or housing because of who they are or whom they love.

“However, right now those values are being called into question in states across the country. In more than twenty states, legislatures are considering legislation that could empower individuals or businesses to discriminate against LGBT people by denying them service if it they felt it violated their religious beliefs.

“To ensure no one faces discrimination and ensure everyone preserves their right to live out their faith, we call on all legislatures to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to their civil rights laws and to explicitly forbid discrimination or denial of services to anyone.

“Anything less will only serve to place barriers between people, create hurdles to creativity and inclusion, and smother the kind of open and transparent society that is necessary to create the jobs of the future. Discrimination is bad for business and that’s why we've taken the time to join this joint statement.”

Donna Epps directs Verizon’s domestic public policy team, as well as relationships with our external partners. Prior to her current position, Ms. Epps worked in Verizon’s Federal Regulatory Affairs group where she developed and advocated Verizon’s federal regulatory policy positions on key issues facing the communications industry, with an emphasis on issues related to competition, economic regulation, and consumer protection.