by Melinda Lejman | photo courtesy of FedEx Corporation
Global delivery’s number one corporation has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. Gretchen Mathis, FedEx Communications and Public Relations Manager, talked with Focus® magazine’s Melinda Lejman to explain how.
FedEx has been deemed a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” What can an LGBTQ Memphian expect from a position with FedEx? How are these values implemented throughout the various campuses of FedEx in Memphis?
Diversity and inclusion has always been a priority for FedEx. It is a part of our DNA and it is woven throughout our entire organization. We believe that every one of our more than 400,000 employees across the globe is a vital link in the chain of success and that diversity only makes us stronger.
How has awareness of the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index shaped your policies and corporate culture?
We have worked hard to ensure our policies are fair and equitable for all team members so that everyone enjoys the same opportunities. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index is one of the many tools on corporate policies and practices related to the LGBTQ community we benchmark against.
How do employee benefits at FedEx fit within the Corporate Equality Index’s requirements?
FedEx offers the same benefits to all employees, including same-sex domestic partners, and the Consumer Medical Plan options in the FedEx Corporation Group Health Plan cover specific procedures and services for gender reassignment. Additionally, guidelines for supporting the transitioning transgender employee have been provided to FedEx management.
At FedEx, we embrace and celebrate diversity and inclusion, and we have a long history of working with LGBTQ-focused organizations. This includes the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, who we began working with in 2003 and continue to work with today.” – Gretchen Mathis, Communications and Public Relations at FedEx
What is FedEx doing to support transgender employees (those who are transitioning and those who are not)?
At FedEx, we are dedicated to creating an environment where everyone contributes to a positive culture. This includes respect, acceptance and professional treatment of transgender team members. In keeping with this philosophy, we ask our employees to support our transgender team members’ right to make this decision by encouraging a successful transition in the workplace through:
- Noting the courage on team member’s part to make this decision
- Treating the transitioning employee consistently with his or her gender identity
- Including the employee and his or her supervisor in planning the steps of the workplace transition and developing a plan to handle practical considerations raised by the employee
- Maintaining confidentiality until the day the transition will be made known to co-workers
- Informing management beyond the employee’s supervisor of the employee’s planned transition so leaders can express their support when the transition is made known to the work group
- Ensuring the employee knows he or she can use the restroom consistent with his or her gender identity, regardless of whether the official transition has occurred
- Applying the same standards to the transitioning employee and to co-workers
- Enforcing zero tolerance for harassment
What is the mission of the LGBTQ & Friends affinity group at FedEx, and what groups does FedEx work with in support of Pride Heritage or LGBTQ related initiatives?
The mission of the LGBTQ & Friends affinity group at FedEx is to increase understanding and cultural awareness of LGBTQ employees and supportive colleagues through education, information and experience sharing, professional mentoring and activities that ensure the inclusion and promote the value of all employees.
Just a few of the organizations FedEx has worked with locally include:
- Facing History and Ourselves
- First Tennessee Bank
- OUTLaw (University of Memphis Law School LGBTQ student organization)
- OUTMemphis (specifically the Metamorphosis Project)
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
What other LGBTQ groups does FedEx work with, sponsor, or otherwise support?
FedEx sponsors the Matthew Shepard Foundation, an LGBTQ nonprofit organization that was founded in December 1998 by Dennis and Judy Shepard in memory of their son, Matthew. The Foundation focuses on anti-bullying initiatives, education, outreach, and advocacy programs.
FedEx also sponsors The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ young people, ages 13-24. The program offers guidance and resources to parents and educators in order to foster safe, accepting and inclusive environments for all youth at home and at school.
FedEx is also a sponsor of the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA). The NGPA offers assistance to airline management teams in the development of LGBTQW training specifically targeted to flight operations and flight deck crew members.
Other LGBTQ events supported by FedEx over the past two years have included:
- Hosting of Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard, as keynote speakers during the FedEx observance of LGBT History Month in October 2017
- Participation in Diversity & Inclusion benchmarking/networking sessions for First Tennessee/First Horizon and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital executives
- Hosting of LGBT information booths at FedEx Family Day events for more than 7,500 FedEx Memphis Hub employees and their families
- Sponsorship of Mid-South Pride annual events
- Sponsorship of LGBT Law Symposiums at the University of Mississippi and the University of Memphis
- Sponsorship of Dialogues in Diversity “Meet and Greet” reception at Theatre Memphis for business and community representatives