Northern Ireland firms ranked among UK's most LGBT-inclusive employers
Four companies in Northern Ireland have been named in a list of the UK's most LGBT-inclusive employers.
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The Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, which is compiled by the lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, has placed legal firm Pinsent Masons at the head of its top 100.
The company, which operates from Lanyon Place in Belfast, has been joined by three other firms with significant premises in Northern Ireland: investment banker Citi (9th), Baker McKenzie (10th) and Allen & Overy (37th).
Stonewall said its top 100 is the UK's definitive list ranking employers from across public, private and third sectors on how LGBT-inclusive their workplaces are.
Pinsent Masons, which is Stonewall's first employer of the year for Northern Ireland, has previously backed the campaign for same-sex marriage here.
Stonewall said: "The firm demonstrated a range of inclusive policies and practices for lesbian, gay and bi staff, and has introduced specific trans-inclusive staff training to create a welcoming environment for trans colleagues, clients and visitors."
Richard Foley, senior partner at Pinsent Masons, said: "This is a very special achievement for us.
"It isn't about reaching the top spot; it's about what the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index stands for and what everyone engaged in it is working so hard to accomplish.
"Pinsent Masons was the first law firm to be ranked in the index in 2008. Today the legal sector is represented by 16 firms. Our ranking recognises that like many other organisations we are championing LGBT+ inclusion in everything that we do.
"We have a responsibility to champion change in the wider community. Supporting initiatives such as the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland plays an important role in prompting progress on the equality issues that we believe must be addressed."
Fergal McFerran, Stonewall's client account manager for Northern Ireland, said: "Pinsent Masons and all the organisations in Northern Ireland who have made this year's top 100 employers list are making a huge difference to workplaces, services and communities across the region.
"LGBT-inclusive employers play a crucial role in changing society by using their power and influence to protect and support LGBT people," he said.
"With so many organisations displaying such a strong commitment to LGBT equality, we are one step closer to creating a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees are welcomed and accepted without exception."