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The Business Case for #HERO

Out & Equal Houston and our membership strongly support the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Our membership includes employees and leaders from more than 100 companies – large and small – from every segment of Houston’s economy. Many of our members have worked on or are working on implementing inclusive workplace policies & practices in their respective companies. We understand the benefits of having non-discrimination policies, as well as the down-side for businesses and employees when these protections are not in place.

We support this ordinance not simply because it is the right thing to do, but also because it makes business sense.

Houston must remain competitive
Not only must we provide excellence in education for our local workforce, but we have to demonstrate that our city welcomes everyone.  Without this ordinance, Houston would remain at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting talent, as do the companies who do business (or want to do business) in our city.

HERO affirms Houston’s reputation as open & welcoming place for individuals, families and businesses.

Equality = Open for Business!
Companies that ignore demographics are leaving money on the table for others to pick up. In today's competitive market, can any business really afford to turn away customers?

For example, buying power for the LGBT market in the U.S. is projected to top $1 Billion by 2015. Houston has one of the largest and growing LGBT communities in the country.  These consumers are highly sought after because they are savvy, trend-setting and extremely loyal – and they respond overwhelmingly positively to companies with inclusive policies and LGBT visibility in advertising.

Inclusive workplace policies increase productivity
If you are worried about losing your job for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, you likely are not working to your full potential.  Discrimination -- for sexual orientation, gender identity or any other other #HERO protected classes --  represents an unnecessary distraction that prevents workers from performing the core function of their jobs.
HERO removes a large barrier to employee productivity and help boost business performance.

Compliance comes at little to no cost -- but discrimination can be costly!
Most major employers in Houston already have some level of the workplace protections that are spelled out in the Equal Rights Ordinance.  

According to a national survey by the Small Business Majority in 2013, most small businesses estimated that implementing non-discrimination policies costs little to nothing.  That same survey showed that a large majority felt that non-discrimination laws improve a business’s bottom line by attracting the best and brightest employees.

Discrimination’s real cost to business in terms of employee turn-over far out shadows the penalties in this ordinance.  This ordinance may not eliminate discrimination in the workplace, but it does send a clear signal about the kinds of behavior that we, in Houston, consider unacceptable.

Houston:  the city with no limits...
We can be proud of our city's progress, but Houston doesn't stand still:  we always look to the future.  We want Houston to be a place where everyone can work hard, provide for our families and give our kids the opportunity for a better life.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and the Business Coalition for Equality affirms that Houston stands for a fundamental belief in fairness: performance matters, not who you are and where you come from... and everyone deserves an equal shot at success.