Pinsent Masons tops Stonewall’s LGBT-inclusive employer list
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Pinsent Masons tops Stonewall’s LGBT-inclusive employer list

  • Top 10 LGBT-inclusive employers include MI5, Lloyds Banking Group and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

  • Universities have strong year with nearly 1/5th of the Top 100 ranked employers in the higher education sector

  • Senior Champion of the Year is Jonathan Slater, Department for Education’s Permanent Secretary

International law firm Pinsent Masons has been named the most inclusive employer in the UK by lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall in its Top 100 Employers list for 2019. The Top 100 is the UK’s leading list ranking employers from across public, private and third sectors on how inclusive their workplaces are and is intensely competitive – with this year seeing more entrants than ever.

A new trend in this year’s Top 100 sees a significant rise in universities named as inclusive employers, with 19 organisations working in the higher education sector making the list.

Pinsent Masons was the first employer in the legal sector to work with Stonewall. The firm demonstrated a range of inclusive policies and practices for lesbian, gay and bi staff, and has introduced specific trans-inclusive staff training to create a welcoming environment for trans colleagues, clients and visitors.

Pinsent Masons have also been actively involved in championing LGBT equality across the UK, including supporting the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland and working with school partners to build inclusive learning environments for young people.

Richard Foley, Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons, said: ‘This is a very special achievement for us. It isn’t about reaching the top spot; it’s about what the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index stands for and what everyone engaged in it is working so hard to accomplish. Pinsent Masons was the first law firm to be ranked in the Index in 2008. Today the legal sector is represented by over 16 firms. Our ranking recognises that like many other organisations we are championing LGBT+ inclusion in everything that we do. Pinsent Masons has created an inclusive workplace that enables everyone to be themselves; from our recruitment processes through to our engagement with clients.

‘We have a responsibility to champion change in the wider community. Supporting initiatives such as the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland play an important role in prompting progress on the equality issues that we believe must be addressed. We are also confident that our ongoing work with our Family Support Network and work with our school partners will help create safe and inclusive learning environments to ensure that future generations are guaranteed a discrimination-free start in life.

‘Many congratulations to all those who achieved a ranking in the Index. Working together we are all driving real change in the workplace and thereby ensuring that business works better for people.’

Higher education is the best performing sector

As higher education organisations dominated this year’s Top 100, Cardiff University came top of the class at number 11. The sector’s strong performance was buoyed by seven new entries to the Top 100, including six universities such as the University of South Wales (43) and the University of Brighton (72).

Higher education’s strong commitment to LGBT inclusion is a powerful positive symbol of the progress being made towards equality. Stonewall’s 2018 University Report shows why this work is needed with two in five LGBT students (42 per cent) saying they’ve hidden their identity at university for fear of discrimination.

2019’s top trans-inclusive employers

Stonewall gave special commendation to the UK’s top-trans inclusive employers, including Pinsent Masons, Victim Support, Skills Development Scotland and the National Assembly for Wales. These are employers who have gone above and beyond to ensure trans staff feel accepted. 

This comes as trans people continue to face worrying levels of abuse in both their private lives and in the public sphere. Shockingly, one in eight trans employees (12 per cent) have been physically attacked by a colleague or customer in the last year.

Most competitive Top 100 ever

This year’s Top 100 was the largest ever with 445 employers from across different sectors vying for a coveted spot in the list.

Each year, Stonewall also names individuals and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to LGBT inclusion in their workplace. Senior Champion of the Year was awarded to Jonathan Slater, the Department for Education’s Permanent Secretary.

Jonathan Slater, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to have won the Stonewall Senior Champion of the Year award. I am proud of what we have done in the Department for Education and am very grateful for the dedication and support of the LGBT+ network, my leadership team, and individuals in the Department who have gone above and beyond to make it an inclusive place to work. There’s plenty more to do, and I will keep championing the rights of staff to be themselves.’

Last year, Stonewall released research that showed more than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) have hidden they are LGBT at work and almost one in five LGBT employees (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments from colleagues because of their identity.

Darren Towers, Stonewall’s Executive Director, said: ‘Stonewall was set up 30 years ago to fight against Section 28 – a vicious law that aimed to ban the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in educational settings. To now see higher education institutions dominating the Top 100 for the first time shows not just how far we’ve come, but gives a real positive message for the future.

‘LGBT-inclusive employers play a crucial role in changing society by using their power and influence to proudly support LGBT people in their organisations. Our number one employer of 2019, Pinsent Masons, is leading the way championing lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality in the workplace. They know that helping staff feel that they can bring their full selves to work doesn’t just make a huge difference to individual team members – it makes real business sense too. They are a shining example for others to follow on how to ensure all staff feel empowered and supported.’

‘Our recent research revealed that more than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) have hidden who they are at work for fear of discrimination. Whether as senior leaders, managers or colleagues, we all have a part to play in making sure that our workplaces and communities are places that accept and support LGBT people, without exception.’

In compiling the Top 100, Stonewall collects more than 92,000 anonymous responses from employees on their experience of the UK’s workplace culture and diversity. An overwhelming 93 per cent of non-LGBT employees who responded to the survey say they understand why their employer is committed to LGBT equality.

See the full results of the Top 100 Employers.