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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 11:44 GMT
IBM 'most gay-friendly employer'
IBM office
IBM says it is determined to help all its employees
IBM has been named as the UK's most gay-friendly employer in an annual survey by Stonewall.

The gay rights charity said IBM had done most out of the 100 firms surveyed to put an effective equality strategy in place and to engage with gay staff.

Staffordshire Police, the Greater London Authority (GLA), Manchester City Council and Lloyds TSB were also commended for their approach.

But Stonewall said gay people still faced obstacles in too many workplaces.

Diversity principle

Many of the UK's 1.7 million gay and lesbian employees face discrimination, it has warned.

The business case for addressing effective recruitment and retention of lesbian and gay staff is increasingly persuasive
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall

The survey assessed employers' policies on workplace equality, their record on recruitment and their attitudes to customers.

While IBM topped the poll, Staffordshire Police ranked second, while the GLA and Manchester City Council shared third place.

Stonewall said there had been excellent progress in all areas of the workplace from which other employers could learn.

"The business case for addressing effective recruitment and retention of lesbian and gay staff is increasingly persuasive," said Stonewall's chief executive Ben Summerskill.

"This work isn't just about fair treatment, it is about establishing competitive advantage in the labour market."

IBM said it was determined to empower all its employees to succeed in the workplace.

"I am convinced that the principles of diversity, inclusion and equality must sit at the heart of any truly modern, successful and confident organisation," said Larry Hirst, IBM's UK general manager.

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