Legal firm Pinsent Masons has been named the most inclusive employer in the UK by lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall, in its Top 100 Employers list for 2019.
The firm, which employs 500 lawyers and support staff in Scotland in its Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen offices, was the first in the legal sector to engage with Stonewall and feature in the charity’s annual review when it launched in 2008, and has consistently been ranked among the UK's most inclusive employers. It was placed at number 2 in 2017 and 2018.
This year a record 445 employers submitted to Stonewall's workplace equality index, its benchmarking tool for LGBT inclusion in the workplace, achieving an average score of 66% for their LGBT practice across 10 areas. The Top 100 Employers list is compiled from this index.
Pinsent Masons was followed in second place by another law practice, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, and a total of 16 legal firms made the top 100. Of those with offices in Scotland, Dentons ranked 15, DWF 59 and Eversheds Sutherland 66. The Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service was placed at 51, and the Scottish Government at 72 – though the Welsh Government made number 8 and the National Assembly for Wales equal fifth.
Pinsent Masons was commended for its range of inclusive policies and practices for lesbian, gay and bi staff, including the introduction of specific trans-inclusive employee training to create a welcoming environment for trans colleagues, clients and visitors.
The firm has also been actively involved in championing LGBT equality across the UK, including supporting the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland and working with school partners to build inclusive learning environments for young people.
In its report, Stonewall said that although 83% of lesbian, gay and bi employees, and 65% of trans employees, "feel able to be themselves" in the workplace, "much remains to be done". Its 2018 report LGBT in Britain - Work found almost one in five LGBT staff had been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues over the last year, and those who were also Black, Asian or minority ethnic, disabled, or trans, were likely to face even greater workplace harassment or discrimination.
Richard Foley, senior partner at Pinsent Masons, commented: "We have a responsibility to champion change in the wider community. Supporting initiatives such as the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland play an important role in prompting progress on the equality issues that we believe must be addressed. We are also confident that our ongoing work with our Family Support Network and work with our school partners will help create safe and inclusive learning environments to ensure that future generations are guaranteed a discrimination-free start in life.
"Congratulations to all those who achieved a ranking in the index. Working together we are all driving real change in the workplace and thereby ensuring that business works better for people."