Media contact:
Jimmy Flannigan, President
Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
512-761-LGBT (5428)

AGLCC works with city, company to fully protect Athenahealth’s LGBT workers

AUSTIN, Texas (February 10, 2014) — As a result of action by the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC), Massachusetts-based Athenahealth Inc. — which is adding more than 600 jobs in Austin over the next 10 years — is changing company policy to ensure that all of its LGBT employees enjoy legal protection from discrimination.

AGLCC President Jimmy Flannigan announced the Athenahealth policy change Friday during the AGLCC’s 2014 State of the Chamber event. Flannigan said the policy update will "ensure that every LGBT employee at Athenahealth is protected and valued, no matter where they live."

As Athenahealth was negotiating its incentive deal with the City of Austin, AGLCC discovered that the company’s employment non-discrimination policy covered only those groups protected under state and federal laws, Flannigan said. While the current policy benefits Athenahealth’s employees in Massachusetts, it would not have benefited Athena’s employees in Austin, he said. That’s because LBGT employees in Austin fall under the city’s employment non-discrimination ordinance, not under any state or federal protections.

After AGLCC’s discussions with Austin City Council members, city staff members and company representatives, Athenahealth agreed to revise it employee non-discrimination policy.

"We all have friends and family struggling to find work," Flannigan said. "But we also know LGBT people stuck in bad jobs — jobs where someone’s partner cannot get health insurance, jobs where there are no clear employment protections, or even jobs where a boss or co-worker can harass someone without recourse."

Athenahealth will receive $679,500 in job-creation incentives from the City of Austin over 10 years. The company provides software for cloud-based electronic health records, health care practice management and patient communication.

Flannigan noted that the City of Austin has worked with Athenahealth and a handful of other companies on financial incentives to add jobs in Austin through relocation or expansion.

"Those tax incentives are not just a giveaway — they come with clear requirements and guidelines," Flannigan said. "Pay a living wage, hire locally, and yes, provide employment protections and domestic partner benefits."

During the State of the Chamber event, Flannigan also announced that the AGLCC will collaborate with the City of Austin to launch a website that promote jobs at LGBT-supportive employers in Austin.

"While there may be a long road to full equality, we can achieve economic equality and freedom today," Flannigan said.

The Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) is Central Texas’ home for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) supportive businesses and organizations. The chamber is the best resource to learn about LGBT-friendly businesses, services, community resources and events in the Austin area.

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