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Amazon’s Corporate Culture of Inclusion Makes Considering Anti-LGBT Bills A Dicey Move for Top-20 Prospects February 7, 2018

As the final decision looms for Amazon regarding the location of their second world headquarters, it’s important to understand what factors the company will consider as it prepares to make its choice.

Internally, Amazon has created a culture of inclusion and non-discrimination. An entire division of the corporation, Diversity at Amazon, says in its mission statement:

“We believe that diversity and inclusion are good for our business, but our commitment is based on something more fundamental than that. It’s simply right.”

Additionally, the company has several Affinity Groups that provide the opportunity for various communities of workers to come together, including the Black Employee Network, Women in Engineering, and GLAmazon, Amazon’s LGBTQ group, which has existrd since 2005.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, is also a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community. In 2012, before the landmark Obergefell marriage decision, he and his wife MacKenzie donated $2.5 million to a campaign in Washington state to help pass a same sex marriage referendum. Additionally, in 2017, Bezos was honored by the Human Rights Campaign with its Equality Award, which recognizes LGBTQ allies who have demonstrated long-standing support for the community. Amazon was also one of more than 50 tech firms that signed an amicus brief on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student in Virginia who brought legal action against his school district when they refused to let him use the boys’ bathroom.

In an effort to encourage Amazon to select a state with comprehensive non-discrimination protections, several national groups have joined together in a campaign encouraging the company to avoid nine cities specifically, including Austin, Texas and Columbus, Ohio. The group argues that potential workforce talent in a location without protections could potentially lead an employee to be discriminated against in, employment, housing or public accommodations.

While a final choice will be made later this year, it is clear that Amazon is likely to build in a location that is welcoming to all people, including those who are LGBTQ. The company’s history of allyship is a strong indicator of how much they value diversity, and will most certainly factor into the ultimate decision on HQ2.

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Since Anna Lange came out as a #transgender woman, “99% of interactions have been positive,” she says. But for that other 1%—and for other #LGBT people who aren't as lucky in their jobs and communities—an LGBT-inclusive civil rights law is needed: bit.ly/2LnHK0A pic.twitter.com/SErJAqqYY4

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