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Two Big Furniture Makers Get 100% on LGBT Equity

LGBTQ Flag photo
Ludovic Bertron | Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0
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Matthew Buccilla designs the experience that customers have when they visit Herman Miller show rooms in cities as different as Tokyo, Chicago, and DC. But when he first got the job offer three years ago, and realized it meant moving to West Michigan, he worried his own experience wouldn’t be as welcoming to him, a gay man, as it would be for a straight man.

“Personally I would have not moved here if I didn’t feel like the organization truly supported every ounce of me walking through the doors.”

The Human Rights Campaign evaluates companies on just how equitable they are on LGBT issues. They use a series of measures called the Corporate Equality index, and this year, Herman Miller and Steelcase were the only two West Michigan companies to receive 100% from HRC. Here’s Abe Carrillo who oversees inclusion and diversity at Herman Miller.

“A lot of it is through internal competency, how do you talk about it, are different employees aware of the different benefits that they have. And then another piece is a public commitment.”

At Steelcase, the policies and public commitment also scored 100% with HRC. Deb Bailey of Steelcase, says they are very excited about the score and says their policies go as far as gender reassignment surgery.

“Any benefit offered to anyone at Steelcase is also offered to all LGBT employees. So there is no discrimination, no barriers, no limitations for spouses, partners…”

Buccilla says he is glad he moved to Michigan and happy with his experience at Herman Miller, but in his opinion it’s the company and not the State that seems to be doing better on LGBT equity.

“I am challenged with the state and the policies in the State of Michigan right now, that once I walk outside of the doors of Herman Miller, you know, it could be said that I don’t have the same sort of welcome.”   

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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