Twenty Steps to an Out & Equal Workplace

EQUAL POLICIES AND BENEFITSDownload Out & Equal's 20 Steps

  • Include sexual orientation in global non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.
  • Include gender identity and expression in global non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.
  • Recognize same-sex couples and their families with full, equal access to all company benefits.
  • Ensure that global health coverage includes complete health benefits for transgender employees.


  • Establish and support LGBT employee resource groups.
  • Recruit, hire, and offer mentoring to LGBT employees through tools such as
  • Provide leadership development experiences specifically for LGBT employees.
  • Track recruitment and career development metrics for LGBT employees who choose to self identify.


  • Provide diversity training with specific reference to LGBT issues – such as Out & Equal’s Building Bridges Training – for all employees.
  • Use anonymous climate surveys to measure effectiveness of LGBT diversity policies and programs.
  • Include LGBT diversity objectives in management performance goals.
  • Communicate routinely to all employees about how the organization supports its LGBT workforce.


  • Support nonprofit groups working for LGBT equality.
  • Sponsor and encourage visible participation in LGBT cultural events.
  • Include LGBT images in marketing and advertising strategies .
  • Include LGBT owned businesses in supplier diversity program objectives.


  • Be a visible role model for LGBT workplace equality in the community.
  • Support public policy efforts that protect LGBT workplace equality.
  • Oppose actively any attempts that would limit or restrict LGBT workplace equality.
  • Share leading practices on LGBT workplace equality by supporting the Out & Equal Workplace Summit!

Creative Commons License

20 Steps to an Out & Equal Workplace by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting Associate Director of Training, Pat Bailie.


The Equality Principles, the Out & Equal Frontier, and the Corporate Equality Index provide a foundation for the 20 Steps to an Out & Equal Workplace.

Equality Project
The Equality Principles
A coalition of consumers, employees and investors working together. The Equality Project works to support and help monitor the adoption of written employee nondiscrimination policies on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace by pressing companies to implement the progressive policies expressed in the Equality Principles.

Human Rights Campaign
Corporate Equality Index
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index report, released each fall, provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors.

If working with an organization trying to start an ERG, the following resources will be helpful:

Lambda Legal
Creating an LGBT-Friendly Workplace
Tips for creating an LGBT resource group, including creating a mission statement and sponsoring diversity training and other educational programs.

Human Rights Campaign
Employee Network Groups
Information about starting both an LGBT Employee Resource Group and an “Allies” Program.

The Diversity Factor (e-Newsletter)
“Employee Resource Groups: A Foundation for Support and Change” by Wendy Conklin (Fall 2000 issue). Available for download ($5.50)

The following resources will be helpful in working with your organization to offer Domestic Partner benefits:

San Francisco Human Rights Commission
Domestic Partner Fact Sheets and Sample Policies
Written for organizations seeking to comply with San Francisco’s equal benefits regulations, this site provides helpful guidance to any organization seeking to implement Domestic Partner benefits. In addition to sample policies, the site includes lists of governmental domestic partnership registries across the country and national insurance companies offering DP health insurance.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
This manual provides comprehensive information on what domestic partnership benefits are, why employers should adopt these benefits, and how employees and citizens can organize effectively for policy change. Sample policies and lists of who offers domestic partnership benefits are included.

Human Rights Campaign
Steps to Achieve Domestic Partner Benefits in Your Workplace This web page includes a downloadable manual with steps for bringing Domestic Partner benefits to your organization and sample DP policies.

For more information on LGBT-specific advertising, the premier organization on “the commercial closet” can be found at [Return to top]

Editorial Note: Out & Equal’s “Twenty Steps to an Out & Equal Workplace” is designed to guide those who seek to build a workplace where all individuals know they are equally valued and respected. In the “Twenty Steps to an Out & Equal Workplace”, any reference to specific companies is intended only to illustrate a specific point relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in the workplace. We support all companies and organizations in their efforts to become Out & Equal workplaces.