(Editor’s note: Shortly after this was published, DynCorp announced it would update its non-discrimination policy to include LGBT protections. More on that decision here.)
When a major corporation is indifferent to the abuse of one of its employees based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, the company stakeholders should be outraged. When the corporation in question, DynCorp, is the recipient of more than $2 billion of taxpayers’ money in the form of federal contracts, such indifference is absolutely unacceptable.
Large corporations like DynCorp that continue to resist the best practices of corporate management should not be eligible for federal contracts. Last week, DynCorp landed another contract from the federal government. Yet last month, DynCorp settled the lawsuit of a straight employee being taunted by anti-gay slurs; however, the incident has only shed light on a corporation demonstrating a keen lack of insight into 21st century corporate policies. When best practices are not in place to protect ALL employees from discrimination on the job, the entire corporation suffers, leading to a decline in profits and the elimination of jobs.
According to a Williams Institute study of the top 50 federal contractors, DynCorp is ranked No. 32 and is one of the few contractors that does not have any public statements on general diversity, domestic partnership benefits, or policies tied to “creating an LGBT inclusive workforce.” In comparison, the top four agencies, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrup Grumman and Raytheon, all have diversity policies covering sexual orientation, gender identity and domestic partner benefits.
DynCorp should see the writing on the wall. Corporate success is not about enabling easy discrimination, but instead harnessing the collective diversity of the people who make the corporation successful. Not only do these types of policies ensure a more productive workforce, but also better recruitment and retention of top talent.
When we founded the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) almost 10 years ago, we knew corporate America was already leading the world in recognizing the strengths of an LGBT inclusive workforce. Three of our founding partners, IBM and Wells Fargo have protections for LGBT employees going back more than 25 years and countless more companies have added them since.
The NGLCC works with federal agencies to ensure federal contracting avenues are open and accessible to LGBT business owners. Last year, we finalized a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Commerce. In addition to working on agency priorities like the president’s National Export Initiative, the MOU adds LGBT-owned businesses to the diverse pool of potential suppliers at the department, and we will continue to sign similar memorandums with other federal agencies throughout 2012.
We intend to expand our work to the largest contracting agency, the Department of Defense. But in the meantime, the NGLCC and our members know that corporate change is always related to the return on investment. Developing and implementing policies that ensure every employee is helping improve the corporate bottom line should maximize corporate profits. Any investor has a right to demand change.
DynCorp’s misguided management practices should be raised to the investor relations department and at the annual shareholder meeting. We encourage every shareholder of DynCorp, whether individual investor, mutual fund, LGBT, or ally to hold management accountable for erroneous policies that hinder the ultimate goal of maximizing shareholder return. Please visit change.org to sign the petition, created by Freedom to Work, to persuade DynCorp to adopt an LGBT inclusive non-discrimination policy.
We hope that President Obama will take note of federal contractors whose policies are non-inclusive and urge them to adopt policies that provide a 21st century environment for all workers. DynCorp and other federal contractors that find themselves behind the times should make changes to their policies to protect all employees from workplace discrimination, add LGBT businesses to their diverse supply chains and ensure shareholders are properly represented.
As evidenced by policies and practices adopted by the NGLCC’s 140 corporate partners, it isn’t a matter of IF these policies will impact DynCorp; it’s a matter of when. Non-discrimination polices are good for the workforce and they are good for the bottom line.
Justin G. Nelson and Chance Mitchell are co-founders of The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Reach them via nglcc.org.