Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, is a native of Alabama who attended Auburn University. This week, Cook returned to his home state and made a speech that called for higher tolerance and equal rights for all regardless of sexual orientation or identity. He made allusions to Martin Luther King, showing that Alabama has been slow to acknowledge change and rights throughout history; first the civil rights era and now the gay rights movement.
In an essay for Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as Apple CEO in 2011, announced that he is “proud to be gay.” Cook commented that he had been open at the company that he was gay and many of his colleagues were aware of his sexuality. He’s “never denied his sexuality, [but] he never publicly acknowledged it, either.”
Cook is now the highest-profile CEO known to be openly gay. “I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important…I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
Cook added that he was “lucky to work for a company that loves creativity and innovation and know it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences.” This article only adds more meaning to Cook’s call to action in Alabama earlier this week. Currently, Alabama state law does not consider sexual orientation a protected class, thus someone can be fired as a result of their sexuality.
In the state of California, firing someone for their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation is unlawful. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), and subsequently the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), protects employees and those associated with them from discrimination in the workplace. If you think you have experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation, contact Aegis for a case evaluation.
Source: LA Times and BBC News