Keeping PACE with Equality

Imagine going to work and never talking about your spouse, children, vacation or weekend plans because you’re afraid of what people might say? For some customers and co-workers, that is a reality. PACE, one of our newest Employee Resource Groups (ERG), is working to change this by creating a supportive work environment for all employees.

The Pride Alliance of Consumers Energy (PACE) is an ERG for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and allies. The group, formed in June 2015, hopes to make a big impact by bringing together LGBT employees and allies to engage on LGBT issues through education and awareness.

Last year, we began extending benefits to all married couples. This was one of our first steps in updating policies and practices to fully recognize and provide equal benefits to LGBT employees.

“To me, a great place to work is a place where everyone is accepted and respected because of the work they do,” said Marsha Caspar, Principal Technical Analyst for Workforce Programs Analytics and PACE Chair.

“Members of the LGBT community face very real struggles every day, and allies are critical for the success of any LGBT group. We want to build our allied membership and create a supportive environment for our employees
and our customers.”

“It is estimated that up to 10 percent of all adults identify as LGBT. Whether it is a colleague, neighbor, family member, friend or customer — everyone knows someone who identifies with the LGBT community,” said Luis Saenz, Senior Rate and Business Support Analyst and PACE Vice Chair. “PACE helps make our company a place where everyone feels comfortable being their authentic selves.”

Some tips on being an ally include:
• Be open-minded
• Listen — be willing to talk and learn
• Don’t make assumptions about a colleague
• Be inclusive — someone close to you could be looking for support

For more tips on how you can be an ally, visit GLAAD at http://www.glaad.org/resources/ally