Todd Null 0

Amend Carilion Clinic's Discrimination Policy

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We propose that Carilion Clinic amend its EEO and Non-Discrimination statements to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This language should be added because it: - Offers needed protection for persons who tend to be discriminated against and harassed because of their behavior, appearance, or perceived and/or recognized sexual orientation: protection that is consistent with that offered by Carilion Clinic to others already recognized in Carilion Clinic's policy, - Endorses Carilion Clinic's currently welcoming environment and creates the safety necessary for creativity, - Aides in the recruitment of a diverse and talented body of providers, staff and students, and - Reaffirms Carilion Clinic's leadership role among employers in Virginia in providing a safe and supportive environment for all employees. It is now widely established that the range of human sexuality is considerably broader than what was once commonly accepted. Those whose sexual orientation falls outside of common expectations experience a significant rate of adverse discrimination ranging from peer harassment, to job loss, to violent attacks. In recognition of this discrimination, a number of municipalities and employers have enacted protections for sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies. As an employer, and leading healthcare institution, Carilion Clinic should be a leader in enacting such protections. Many Americans believe that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals should have the right to be free from discrimination in the workplace. Two polls conducted by a respected bi-partisan polling team reveal that 87% of Virginians agree that gay men and lesbians have a right to be protected from workplace discrimination, and 90% said gay and lesbian Virginians should have the right to work for the government (Equality Virginia). In spite of these overwhelming majorities, there is currently no state-wide law to protect people from discrimination on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation in the private or public workplace. This means that a person can be fired because someone thinks that they may be gay or lesbian or because they are not masculine or feminine enough in dress or demeanor. Because there is no legislation, it is the responsibility of individual employers to assert policies that guarantee that all employees can work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Inclusive non-discrimination policies are good for business. According to Equality Virginia, the Commonwealth's only state-wide non-partisan lobbying, outreach and education organization seeking equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Virginians, over two-thirds of the nation's Fortune 500 companies have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, including nine of the top 10. 125 fortune 500 companies have protections that include gender identity. The statistics in Virginia are equally inspiring. Eight of Virginia's top ten employers include sexual orientation in their employment policies, as well as many of the state&'s leading universities. According to Equality Virginia, of the top ten largest private employers in the Commonwealth, 80 percent have sexual orientation protections in their non-discrimination policies: Wal-Mart, Northrop Grumman Newport News, Food Lion, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Target Corp, Science Applications International (SAIC), Booz Allen Hamilton, and Capital One Bank. Carilion Clinic's policies already extend protection to many groups making it a supportive place where people can learn, work, and flourish. It is time to for Carilion Clinic to join the growing list of companies that provide comprehensive EEO and non-discrimination policies. LGBT individuals have experienced discrimination, harassment, and violence, solely on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation, in ways similar to the unacceptable treatment historically imposed on others because of their race, religion, or gender. LGBT individuals are similarly in need of protection to live in an environment free of anger and fear, where they can be as creative and productive as possible. The proposed amendment would make it clear that Carilion Clinic is a place where no one needs to feel afraid or humiliated. Beyond the immediate and direct advantage of improving the emotional well-being of Carilion Clinic's LGBT employees, the organization would also benefit from the subsequent increase in employee commitment, creativity, and critical thinking that come with being confident in your position and knowing that your employer respects and values you as an employee. While neither Roanoke City nor the Commonwealth of Virginia currently provide legal employment protection for LGBT individuals, many Roanoke employers currently have inclusive EEO and non-discrimination policies including: Allstate, Kroger, and Wachovia. By adopting the proposed language, Carilion Clinic would remain on par not only with other employers, but also with its peer institutions. Bon Secours in Richmond, a comparable Virginia health system includes sexual orientation in its EEO and non-discrimination policies: "We respect the dignity of each individual and treat co-workers and others with respect, courtesy and consideration. When our employees and other associated individuals commit to principles of fairness and respect for the dignity of the individual, we create an environment that allows us to achieve our missionâ... Bon Secours Richmond policy forbids employees and associates to discriminate against anyone based on race, religion, color, gender, age, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic protected by law. We are committed to establishing and maintaining a workplace free of discrimination. We are fully committed to equal employment opportunity. We will not tolerate unlawful discrimination in the recruitment, hiring, termination, promotion, salary treatment or any other condition of employment or career development. Furthermore, we will not tolerate the use of discriminatory slurs, or other remarks, jokes or conduct, that in the judgment of Bon Secours, encourage or permit an offensive or hostile work environment." As a major healthcare organization in Virginia, Carilion Clinic has an opportunity at this moment to be a leader. By adopting the new language, Carilion Clinic would create positive discussion and foster the opportunity to increase understanding of the importance of diversity in the workplace. By signing petition, I declare that I am an employee of Carilion Clinic and that I support the proposal that Carilion Clinic amend its EEO and Non-Discrimination statements to include sexual orientation and gender identity.


M. Todd Null is an employee of Carilion Clinic and created this petition with the help of other employees who believe in the equal protection of all people,
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