Google and Microsoft: The LGBT Workplace Policies that Make Them Successful

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Google and Microsoft Pro-LGBT

It’s good to be gay if you work at Google or Microsoft.

Just last week, Google started an initiative called “Legalize Love” that will operate in every city in which the company has offices; it will focus on changing homophobic culture in places like Poland and Singapore, where anti-gay laws still exist.

For its part, Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer and company founder Bill Gates recently donated $100,000 each to Washington United For Marriage campaign to uphold the state of Washington’s new gay marriage law.

Now that’s externally, internally is where the core of their efforts really are. Here’s a breakdown of the LGBT policies that have helped made the companies two of the best places for people to work.

Google has a workplace policy to compensate gay employees who include domestic partners on their health insurance plans to make up for the federal taxes they pay on that benefit, according to Google’s blog.

The company also provides  the equivalent of the Family and Medical Leave Act for all same-sex domestic partners.

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reason.

“Google supports its LGBT employees in many ways: raising its voice in matters of policy, taking a moment to remember the plight of transgender people around the world and going the extra mile to ensure that its employees are treated fairly,” the company wrote  in the blog.

In addition, Google has a group called the “Gayglers.

The Gayglers is a network of Google’s LGBT employees that work together to internally educate other staffers, and help shape company policies to be more inclusive, according to Google’s website. Gayglers chapters exist just about everywhere Google operates around the world from San Francisco to New York, London to Zurich, Israel to India.

Microsoft has a long-established group of LGBT employees, called the Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft, that has lobbied for equality in the company since the 1980’s. The network achieved remarkable policies within the company in years when gay rights was a much more taboo subject than it is today.

These include:

  • Microsoft is among the first companies to expand its nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation (1989)
  • Insurance and other benefits to same-sex domestic partners (1993).
  • Add gender identity and expression to its anti-discrimination policies (2005).
  • Extend health coverage benefits to partially cover transgender surgery (2006).

The bottom line is that implementing workplace equality rights is not just about making employees feel comfortable, it’s also about attracting the best talent from the most diverse pool of candidates out there.

Google and Microsoft seems to understand that being gay-friendly is good for business.


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