If you, like me, have been keeping up with the news coverage and advertising surrounding the pending Pepco-Exelon merger, then you have heard the terms reliability, sustainability and affordability. The Pepco-Exelon teams claim that these will be the results that District residents can look forward to should the District’s utility regulator, the Public Service Commission, approve the merger settlement. And of course, those that oppose said merger, believe it would be the complete opposite. While these are incredibly important issues to be discussed and evaluated, I began thinking about other issues that would affect D.C. if the merger goes through. For example, what does Exelon stand for? Who are they as a company? We are all familiar with Pepco and their general policies and how the company is run, but will this all change post merger? And if there are changes, would they be for the good or the bad?
Specifically, I was concerned with Exelon’s track record with workplace diversity and its support for the LGBT community. So naturally, the first place I checked was with HRC and its Corporate Equality Index. The index rates employers based on their policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Exelon earned the designation of “Best Place to Work” for a sixth consecutive year in 2016, receiving a perfect score of 100.
In addition to HRC, Exelon was also acknowledged by the Equality Forum. Equality Forum coordinates LGBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high impact initiatives and presents the largest annual international LGBT civil rights summit. In 2013, the Equality Forum presented Exelon the International Business Leadership Award in recognition of the company’s longstanding commitment to LGBT inclusion and equality in the workplace.
I also decided to check out what internal support services might be available to LGBT employees at Exelon that set it apart from other employers. It appears that the company also offers an LGBT employee resource group called Exelon Pride. This group was organized to provide support for LGBT employees and allies, serving as a resource for employees, supervisors and the company’s HR professionals concerning issues affecting the LGBT community. So, in addition to set company policies and procedures, there is an additional support function to assist employees in the workplace, which helps create an environment of acceptance.
Clearly, we are dealing with a forward thinking and progressive company. This for me ranks as a very important issue when analyzing the potential merger. True, it is not the only item to consider, however it is one of the most pertinent when it comes to the future of the LGBT community in corporate America. The more companies with this type of mentality, the better it is for the progress of our city and the country as a whole.
Michael W. Allen, who’s gay, lives in Ward 4. He has lived in the District since 2004.