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24 February 2022

Charles Russell Speechlys awarded Gold Award by Stonewall

Charles Russell Speechlys has received a Gold Award from Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index for its commitment and actions to be an LGBTQ+ inclusive employer.

This year, the Firm ranks at 53 in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2022 and achieved a Highly Commended Network award. Stonewall’s Top 100 employers List ranks organisations on their efforts and commitment to creating welcoming environments for their lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer staff. Organisations are ranked by a set of standardised criteria, which includes ensuring HR policies are inclusive of LGBTQ+ people and supporting and celebrating LGBTQ+ identities at work.

Charles Russell Speechlys’ commitment to being an inclusive employer is demonstrated by providing an environment where people can be themselves and feel they belong. The Firm’s approach to Diversity & Inclusion is led from the very top by a newly formed senior committee - The Future Firm Group. Co-chaired by the Senior and Managing Partners and supported by a Diversity & Inclusion Partner for each of the five focus Networks that concentrate on different areas of diversity – Social Mobility, Gender, CAPability and Mental Health, Religion, Belief & Ethnicity and LGBTQ+.

Lesley O'Leary, Chief Operating Officer at Charles Russell Speechlys, comments:

"We have a very engaged and active LGBTQ+ Network, and it’s wonderful to see the progress we are making as a Firm. Each of the focus groups works hard to identify initiatives, actions, processes, policies, and procedures that will help to offer an inclusive work environment, where everyone feels supported to reach their full potential and bring their whole self to the workplace.

"The Firm continues to involve and encourage more senior leadership to support its D&I activities and has a dedicated Responsible Business Partner. This shift has helped drive real action and helped raise the profile of initiatives internally and externally to engage more with our clients. Stonewall’s guidance and advice is helping us to make the Firm more inclusive for our LGBTQ+ colleagues, candidates, clients and the wider community."

For the last twenty years, Stonewall, the world’s second-largest LGBTQ+ charity, has supported employers in creating welcoming workplaces for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people. According to the charity’s research, more than a third of LGBTQ+ staff (35 per cent) hide who they are at work, while one in five (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments because they’re LGBTQ+.

James Bateman (Associate) and Richard Honey (Senior Associate) – Co Chairs of the LGBTQ+ Network at Charles Russell Speechlys said:

"We are thrilled with our rise in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index this year. The LGBTQ+ Network has diligently bloomed over the last 18 months to further increase our outreach and activities, with a particular focus on the underrepresented communities. This has involved hosting talks to hear personal stories and to understand how we can be better allies, redrafting policies and creating the ability for everyone at the Firm to add their pronouns to their email signatures.

"We are incredibly proud of our jump up the Index rankings and would like to take the opportunity to thank all our Network members and stakeholders for their continued hard work."

Liz Ward, Director of Programmes at Stonewall (she/her) said:

"We’re delighted for Charles Russell Speechlys, whose incredible work towards LGBTQ+ inclusion this year has seen them rise in the rankings. Every employer has a duty to make sure that their LGBTQ+ staff are free from discrimination at work, and our Top 100 list, alongside our Workplace Equality Index helps organisations reflect on their inclusion journey and celebrate best practice."

The full Top 100 list this year can be found on the Stonewall website, as well as further information about the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion, and more information on how the Top 100 list is created.

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