A North East housing company has been named the UK’s best employer for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.
Sunderland-based Gentoo tops equality charity Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers 2014 list, which showcases the country’s best gay-friendly workplaces.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service came eighth, followed by Newcastle City Council (rated fourth among UK councils) and Your Homes Newcastle, at 30. Northumbria Probation Trust, South Tyneside Homes, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust were also among the top 100.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said: “Gentoo and every single employer in the Top 100 has performed remarkably this year as competition for a place on the list of gay-friendly employers has never been fiercer. This commitment from organisations - across 38 different industries - is changing the face of workplaces for the better for all staff, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Peter Walls, Gentoo Chief Executive Officer, said Gentoo had focused training, policies and management strategy on best practice.
He said: “Winning this award is an amazing achievement. It truly is the people at Gentoo that make this business great and it is vital that everyone feels able to be themselves at work and give us all they’ve got.
“This award will motivate us to continue to find new ways of working towards our vision.
“Our success is the result of long-term, sustained commitment. It’s been an incremental journey over several years, and we’ve worked closely with Stonewall and learnt from best practice examples along the way.”
Coun Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “I’m very proud of our performance in Stonewall’s Top 100 index. The criteria was tougher this year than it has ever been before, which goes to show how hard we have worked to make sure that respect and equality are at the heart of everything we do.
“It’s important that everyone feels comfortable being themselves in the workplace, regardless of their sexual orientation, and coming so high in the rankings shows Newcastle City Council is a beacon of progress for workplace equality.”