Dell lends its name in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

This month, Dell joined the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness, a group of leading U.S employers, to support the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The current ENDA bill (H.R. 3017) basically mirrors Dell's existing corporate anti-discrimination policies, and we are very proud to lend Dell's name in support of this federal legislation. Workforce diversity has always been a pillar of Dell's competitive advantage as it promotes an environment that values individual differences, engages people in decision-making, and helps us embrace larger talent pools to continue building the workforce of today and tomorrow.

In the fall of 2007, Dell was previously prepared to lend its name to the list of corporate supporters of ENDA, but the opportunity never materialized after transgender protections were removed from the bill and many LGBT organizations withdrew their support for the non-fully-inclusive version. Now the ENDA bill has been reintroduced in the U.S House of Representatives and has broader congressional and political support because the bill again includes gender identity. It appears that the federal government is now poised to do what major corporations have been doing for years — protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees from workplace discrimination. As it stands, a staggering 98 percent of the United States' largest companies have added sexual orientation to their equal employment opportunity policies, with 60 percent of them including gender identity and expression. In addition, more than half of Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partnership benefits.

Internally at Dell, our Employee Resource Groups play a large part in helping us build a global and diverse workforce and PRIDE, our LGBT employee resource group, has been a leader in enabling Dell to continue to build a fully-inclusive work environment. Global Diversity and PRIDE have partnered successfully over the past several years to ensure that Dell's policies, practices and culture allow it to achieve a perfect HRC Corporate Equality Index score of 100 percent, allowing Dell to named by HRC as "One of the Best Places to Work" for LGBT employees – for the past five consecutive years!

Our letter to the U.S. Senate committee considering the ENDA bill states unequivocally our sentiments as a company: 'It has been the law of the land that employment discrimination is unacceptable based on race, gender, religion, ethnic origin or other non-performance- related considerations. It is time to include sexual orientation and gender identity' . You can learn more about our diversity and inclusion activities by visiting the Diversity Web site.

About the Author: Gil Casellas