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Eversheds Sutherland Earns a Perfect Score for Workplace Equality

Eversheds Sutherland is proud to announce that we have again received a perfect score of 100 on the 2021 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the nation’s premier benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. This is the 12th consecutive year Eversheds Sutherland has received a perfect score.

“We are proud to have our commitment to equality validated again this year by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation,” said Mark D. Wasserman, Co-CEO of Eversheds Sutherland. “Creating and maintaining a culture of inclusivity and equality is an ongoing priority for us and a cornerstone of our firm values.”

“From the previously unimaginable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to a long overdue reckoning with racial injustice, 2020 was an unprecedented year. Yet, many businesses across the nation stepped up and continued to prioritise and champion LGBTQ equality,” said Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President. “This year has shown us that tools like the CEI are crucial in the work to increase equity and inclusion in the workplace, but also that companies must breathe life into these policies and practices in real and tangible ways. Thank you to the companies that understand protecting their LGBTQ employees and consumers from discrimination is not just the right thing to do—but the best business decision.”

“Our firm values and policies demonstrate our commitment to equality to our attorneys, staff, clients and the legal industry, while building a workplace we can be all proud of,” said Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Tax Partner Vanessa A. Scott. “It is great to see this effort recognised once again.”

The 2021 CEI evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBTQ community. Eversheds Sutherland’s efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria results in a 100 percent ranking and the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

For more information on the 2021 Corporate Equality Index, or to download a free copy of the report, visit hrc.org.

About the Human Rights Campaign Foundation

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organisation working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia

Women’s rights are the rights and entitlements claimed for women and girls worldwide. They formed the basis for the women’s rights movement in the 19th century and the feminist movements during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Over the past two years, citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have witnessed huge legal reforms related to women’s rights. The most anticipated and exiting amendments were recently announced pursuant to Royal Decree number dated 27/11/1440 corresponding to 30/07/2019.

This decree constituted the amendment of four different laws, granting men and women equal civil rights, as well as freedom of independent movement, while ensuring equality for women in the work place.

The first amendment was made to the travel documents law. The change allows women to now issue, renew, and receive their own passports, instead of restricting this right to male citizens. Prior to this amendment, passports of female citizens used to be issued only after a request submitted by their male guardians, following which, only the guardian was authorised to receive it.

In addition, a Saudi woman was required to carry a travel permit issued by her male guardian, through the Saudi immigration directorate, in order to travel outside the country. Following the recent reforms, these restrictions have been lifted, allowing Saudi women over the age of 21 to request the issuance of their own passports and travel outside of KSA without needing permissions from their male legal guardians.

Another very important right given to Saudi women, as a result of the Decree, is the right for a divorced or widowed mother, holding the custody of her children, to have the authority to issue their passports and travel permissions.

The recent reforms also include amendments to the Saudi labour law, especially with regards to women’s rights. It began by changing the definition of an ‘employee’, stipulated in article two of the law, to state that ‘an employee is any natural person – male or female – who works for an employer…..’ This amendment is a huge recognition of Saudi women’s role and contribution at the workplace.

The amendments to the labour law also state that work is a right of every citizen, without any discrimination based on sex, disability, age, etc. In addition, it restricts an employer’s right to terminate a female employee’s contract in case of absence resulting from her pregnancy or any illness related thereto, as long as such absence does not exceed 180 days a year, whether consecutive or intermitted. This restriction is expected to safeguard working moms’ interests and rights.

The new Saudi labour law demonstrates perfect equality between the two genders at the workplace, in addition to accommodating special provisions that Saudi women may require in certain situations. The recent changes bring Saudi women closer to equality and recognise their importance to the government and economy as a productive, well-respected member of the society.

Witnessing such amendments fills every Saudi women’s heart with pride and a sense of fulfilment. It has been a great year for women in Saudi Arabia and I am proud to be one.