New York State Comptroller Seeks LGBTQ+ Information From 17 Firms

Cites U.S. Chamber of Commerce report finding that firms with inclusive policies financially outperform their sector peers.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, trustee of the $260 billion New York Common Retirement Fund, is prodding portfolio companies about their level of support for LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace.

DiNapoli has sent letters to 17 companies seeking LGBTQ+ information, including Aflac, Agilent Technologies, Albertsons, American Financial Group, Archer Daniels Midland, Baker Hughes, Caterpillar, Cintas, First Horizon, Jabil, Liberty Media, Marathon Oil, NextEra Energy, Reliance, Ryder System, Universal Health Services and WR Berkley. The pension fund owns shares in each of the companies.

DiNapoli said he wants the companies to disclose the equity and inclusion efforts being used in their workforce management strategy, particularly how they support LGBTQ+ employees through nondiscrimination policies, equal and inclusive health and other benefits, and employee resource groups.

“Research has shown that companies that adopt equal employment opportunity policies aimed at protecting LGBTQ+ rights benefit from more positive business outcomes, lower staff turnover and increased job satisfaction and productivity,” according to the pension fund’s Environmental, Social, and Governance Principles and Voting Guidelines.

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The comptroller’s office also cited a 2023 report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that said that “companies that adopt LGBT-inclusive policies financially outperform their sector peers within five to 10 years of policy adoption.”

DiNapoli is calling on the companies to disclose whether they collect anonymized data on sexual orientation and gender identity. The comptroller’s office said this would help “guide talent development, increase productivity, and communicate to consumers that inclusive teams are serving them.” DiNapoli also argues that the disclosures would help shareholders assess whether the firms are bringing in new talent and if there is an overall improvement in their workforce management.

DiNapoli added that he is continuing to engage with Best Buy, saying he wants to find out if the company is backing away from its support for the LGBTQ+ community after a March SEC filing revealed that the company offered to screen donations to LGBTQ+ charities after being pressured by a conservative think-tank shareholder.

The filing included an email exchange between an associate with the think tank and a Best Buy attorney that showed Best Buy agreed to prohibit donations to a specific list of six LGBTQ+ causes, including an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention and a crisis intervention organization.

“June is Pride Month, when millions of Americans come together to honor and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “We know that fostering an inclusive and diverse workforce can enhance innovation, creativity, and problem-solving capabilities, and ultimately lead to improved shareholder value. That is what we are after.”

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