While there is an emphasis on the impact this act would have on LGBTQIA+ people, women, and people of color, it would also protect those with special needs against discrimination.
Hilary Lloyd, the Vice President of Brand and Values for The Body Shop North America, is responsible for all aspects of The Body Shop North America’s marketing and corporate responsibility efforts, including strategy, digital and e-commerce marketing, loyalty, brand and customer communications, customer insights, and activism.
When asked what attracted the Body Shop to getting involved and supporting the Equality Act, Ms. Lloyd responded, “The Body Shop exists to fight for a fairer and more beautiful world. This is why we are proud to be standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ people, women, people of color, people with disabilities, and other minority groups that will benefit from the additional civil rights protections that The Equality Act provides. The Equality Act is currently the single most important piece of federal legislation for protecting people against discrimination, especially in states where they are particularly vulnerable.”
The Body Shop US has become a member of Open to All. Open to All is a national nondiscrimination campaign focused on the idea that everyone should be welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, religion, or disability.
Calla Devlin Rongerude is the Director for Open to All and has more than 15 years’ nonprofit experience creating and implementing national and state-level communications and public education campaigns on a wide array of issues ranging from arts, higher education equality, and civil rights. Rongerude has worked extensively in coalitions, including civil rights groups, businesses, labor unions, faith leaders, and advocacy organizations.
“Open to All is a nonprofit nondiscrimination program that believes everyone should be welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, religion, or disability,” said Rongerude. “Our nonprofit coalition consists of more than 200 nonprofit organizations that serve the communities in our pledge, including people with disabilities, and we collaborate to develop resources and programming to educate businesses large and small to serve vulnerable populations better. In Open to All’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work, we believe it is critical to include the over 60 million people with disabilities living in the United States.”
“In partnering with these outstanding organizations, we’ve learned that many, especially the transgender community, are under attack and need as much support as possible right now,” said Lloyd.
Enhancing Inclusive Policies
As part of The Body Shop’s own mission to be more inclusive, they have hired a Global Head of Diversity, belonging, and inclusion. “We are constantly seeking feedback across our Employee Resource Groups,” said Lloyd.
The Body Shop also has four active global employee resource groups that advocate for employees in Race and Ethnicity, LGBTQIA+, Gender, and Disability. These resource groups provide feedback and also partner with the brand on developing strategic initiatives. Additionally, each group has a sponsor that sits on The Body Shop’s Executive Leadership Team and advocates for that group at the board level.
“We also joined Purple Space in December 2020,” shared Lloyd. “They are a global network centered around helping employees with disabilities across different sectors of employment. We engage the Purple Space community to share best practices, learnings, and monthly upskilling conversations that continuously shape our awareness around how we can best support our employees’ needs.”
The Body Shop is also a member of ENEI’s inclusion network and is working with ENEI to secure the first phase of Disability Confidence within our business. “We aim to be inclusive to people with disabilities starting from the first stage of each employee’s life cycle, the recruitment, and application stage, where candidates are advised before they even apply to a role that we will provide accommodations as necessary throughout the recruitment process and then throughout their employment as well,” said Ms. Lloyd.
Ms. Lloyd explained that they are constantly reviewing and enhancing their internal policies to ensure all their employees are entirely accepted and supported. Examples include training and support around sexual orientation and gender identity terminology, including pronouns and pronoun usage, replacing all gender-specific pronouns with gender-neutral pronouns in our employee handbook, and the upcoming rollout of our Transition at Work policy designed around acceptance and allyship.
Encouraging Individuals and Companies To Get Involved
In closing, Ms. Lloyd shared that their ultimate goal is legislative action. “We want to inspire our customer base—and let them know that taking action has never been more essential,” she said. “We also want to send a clear message: Society right now is telling marginalized groups that they need to change. The reality is that society needs to change, not them.”
New Data Shows Support For The Equality Act Including Those With Special Needs.
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