NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Oracle, the tech giant expected to bring thousands of jobs to Nashville with a $1.2 billion investment, is among dozens of companies nationwide to oppose “harmful legislation” toward the LGBTQ community, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
The HRC said Friday that 81 companies, including Oracle Corporation, had signed their Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation, “stating their clear opposition to harmful legislation aimed at restricting the access of LGBTQ people in society.”
Tennessee is among ten states listed by the HRC as having anti-LGBTQ bills sitting on the desk of their governors, including Senate Bill 1229 which was sent to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk on Thursday for a signature.
On a tour of the proposed Oracle site, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said the tech giant is a good partner for Music City’s diverse communities.
“It’s a hundred percent graded HRC company on issues of human rights. It is uncompromising. I think it is significant that they are going to be a large employer here in Nashville and they have an outstanding national record and outstanding national profile and I’m sure when they are here, they will be even stronger advocates for all of our people,” explained Mayor Cooper.
Oracle announced earlier this month that it hoped to bring 8,500 jobs to Nashville with a $1.2 billion investment and a new campus in the city’s East Bank. The proposal will go to the Metro Industrial Development Board for a public hearing on April 27.
Joe Woolley, CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber, said Oracle is sending a clear message by signing HRC’s business statement.
“By signing that letter and joining the other businesses on that letter and opposing state-based discrimination, Oracle is sending a clear message that businesses do not want discrimination in Tennessee and that discriminatory laws, those that include and single out transgender youth, they hurt our economic competitiveness,” said Woolley
He hopes Governor Lee and the Tennessee legislature are listening.
“Oracle’s investment in our state is unprecedented. And we have to be able to attract them, and future investments to the state. Businesses have again and again and again made it clear when they come to Tennessee, that they are opposed to discrimination. All of these bills stop the great economic business development that we have going. The governor and the legislature should be rolling out the welcoming map for Oracle, they shouldn’t be making it more difficult for them to invest in our state. I really hope they hear and see what Oracle did.”
Woolley said he thinks the letter is a reminder that the deal with Oracle is not set in stone.
“I think Oracle signing that letter shows that they are not committed to Tennessee yet, and this deal is not done. And that is what’s scary is the deals not done. There’s nothing signed, the ink isn’t dry. And Tennessee is still in the running. And this is an issue that they’re watching closely.”
News 2 reached out to Governor Lee for comment. His office sent the following statement:
“Organizations have opportunities to weigh in on the legislative process but ultimately, Tennesseans, through their elected representatives, determine the law in our state.”
The companies joining this statement do business, create jobs, and serve customers throughout the United States. Our businesses strongly embrace diversity and inclusion because we want everyone who works for us or does business with us to feel included and welcomed as their true, authentic selves. Fairness, equal treatment, and opportunity are central to our corporate values because we care about our employees and the customers we serve. What’s more, these values also matter to our bottom lines. Inclusive business practices lead to more productive and engaged employees, increased customer satisfaction; and, ultimately, improved competitiveness and financial performance.
We are deeply concerned by the bills being introduced in state houses across the country that single out LGBTQ individuals – many specifically targeting transgender youth – for exclusion or differential treatment. Laws that would affect access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms, unnecessarily and uncharitably single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage. They seek to put the authority of state government behind discrimination and promote mistreatment of a targeted LBGTQ population.
These bills would harm our team members and their families, stripping them of opportunities and making them feel unwelcome and at risk in their own communities. As such, it can be exceedingly difficult for us to recruit the most qualified candidates for jobs in states that pursue such laws, and these measures can place substantial burdens on the families of our employees who already reside in these states. Legislation promoting discrimination directly affects our businesses, whether or not it occurs in the workplace.
As we make complex decisions about where to invest and grow, these issues can influence our decisions. America’s business community has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws have a negative effect on our employees, our customers, our competitiveness, and state and national economies.
As business leaders dedicated to equal treatment, respect, and opportunity for all – as well as to improving the financial and investment climate across the country – we call for public leaders to abandon or oppose efforts to enact this type of discriminatory legislation and ensure fairness for all Americans.
- Adobe Inc.
- AEO Inc.
- Altria Group Inc.
- Amalgamated Bank
- American Airlines
- Asana, Inc.
- Bayer US LLC
- BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe)
- Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.
- Boehringer Ingelheim USA
- Capital One
- Cardinal Health
- Cargo Transporters, Inc.
- Center for Community Self-Help
- Corning Incorporated
- CSAA Insurance Group
- Dell Technologies
- Dow Inc.
- Dropbox Inc.
- Eastern Bank
- EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Electronics
- HP Inc.
- IBM Corp.
- IHG Hotels & Resorts
- The Knot Worldwide
- Levi Strauss & Co.
- Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
- Lyft, Inc.
- Marriott International, Inc.
- Mondelez International
- Nike, Inc.
- Oracle Corporation
- Peloton Interactive, Inc.
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Silicon Labs
- Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, including member companies Danone North America; Mars, Incorporated; Nestlé USA; and Unilever United States
- Synchrony Financial
- Thermo Fisher Scientific
- Trillium Asset Management
- Twitter Inc.
- Unilever United States
- Union Pacific
- Wells Fargo
- Xperi Holding Corporation
- Zillow Group