Milwaukee motorcycle company Harley-Davidson Inc. touts “freedom for all” and wants members of the LGBTQ community to know that.
The hard-edge brand has reached out in recent years joining the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, hosting a motorcycle ride during PrideFest Milwaukee in 2018 and starting an employee alliance for gay, lesbian, bisexual employees and their allies. CEO Matt Levatich signed a diversity and inclusion pledge this year.
The work, which Harley describes as doing the right thing, was recognized in a report released Thursday by the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group.
Harley received 90 out of a total of 100 possible points. Businesses are graded on four main criteria: workforce protections, inclusive benefits, supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility.
“Harley is making it transparent that if I’m a lesbian who rides a Harley in the front of the pride parade that I know that I’m supporting a brand that supports my community,” said Beck Bailey, deputy director of employee engagement at HRC.
More than 500 businesses earned a perfect 100 rating in the index and the “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” designation. In Milwaukee, seven companies received perfect scores. Across the state, 21 members of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce received a score of 100.
In previous years, Harley received a low score because the company does not fill out employer surveys as a general rule.
The index rates all companies in the Fortune 500, regardless of their participation. Companies that do not respond receive a score based on publicly available information.
Harley decided to bend its rules and engage with HRC’s annual report for this edition. Harley Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Julie Anding said she saw a need for the company to participate because the index is used practically to guide employment and investment decisions by people who identify as LGBTQ. It can serve as a signal to LBGTQ employees or parents that a company has policies and practices in place for their needs.
“LGBTQ individuals have to make choices every day about if they feel like it’s safe to be who they are,” Anding said. “We want them to know they’re welcome to join the Harley-Davidson family.”
Workplace climate research conducted by the Human Rights Campaign said half of LGBTQ people feel comfortable being out at work. Harley also had Bailey come to the company’s Milwaukee headquarters to lead a training for allies of the LGBTQ community.
How other Milwaukee companies scored
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Ten companies with headquarters in Milwaukee were rated for the 2019 index.
- ManpowerGroup, 100
- Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, 100
- Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., 100
- Quarles & Brady LLP, 100
- Robert W. Baird & Co., 100
- Rockwell Automation, Inc., 100
- Foley & Lardner LLP, 100
- Harley-Davidson Inc., 90
- Johnson Controls Inc., 80
- Komatsu Mining Corp., 75
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