LS&Co. Lends its Voice to Fight Workplace Discrimination

Levi Strauss & Co.
June 26, 2017

There is no room for discrimination in the workplace, period.

Here at Levi Strauss & Co., we believe the success of a business depends on its ability to recruit and retain the best talent, irrespective of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

That’s why we joined other major businesses in signing on to an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc.. At the heart of this case is whether the same protections that prohibit discrimination based on sex also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The amicus brief argues that excluding sexual orientation from the federal prohibition on sex discrimination has wide-ranging, negative consequences to businesses, their employees and the overall economy.

“Discrimination of any kind erodes our ability to foster a vibrant, competitive workforce and impedes our ability to thrive as a business and society,” said Anna Walker, senior director of policy and advocacy, Levi Strauss & Co. “Our core values of originality, empathy, courage, and integrity have guided not only how we operate as a company, but how we treat every person who touches our business, from the workers who make our products to employees to consumers. Ensuring equality and fairness in our workplaces and communities is not only good for business – it is simply the right thing to do.”

LS&Co. has a deep history of supporting the rights of the LGBTQ community. In 1992, we became the first Fortune 500 company to extend domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples. In 2007, we were the only California business to file an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. And in 2013, we joined a broad coalition of supporters urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and joined an amicus brief filed in the U.S. v. Windsor case in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that restricting the U.S. federal interpretation of “marriage” and “spouse” to apply only to heterosexual unions was unconstitutional.

In 2015, we joined 378 other employer organizations on an amicus brief in support of marriage equality in the Obergefell v. Hodges case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states must issue marriage licenses to two people of the same sex and must recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state – standardizing marriage equality as the law of the land in all fifty states in the U.S.

A victory in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. would mark a major step toward ensuring national employment discrimination protections. Like the amicus brief states, our business and the economy are strengthened when all employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace. And we will continue to fight for those rights for all.