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Ohio Businesses Commit to Support Equality for LGBTQ Employees

photo of Jason Rudman
KeyBank executive Jason Rudman was one of many business representatives in Cleveland's Public Square announcing their companies' support for LGBTQ rights in the workplace.

A group of Ohio businesses is working together to promote nondiscrimination against LGBTQ employees. More than 200 businesses have signed on.

Ohio law says it’s illegal for businesses to fire employees based on things like race, religion, sex, or disability status "without just cause." But it is technically legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender.

Some cities, like Akron and Lakewood, have passed ordinances extending protected status to LGBTQ people. But those protections do not extend to the state level, so "if you live in Cleveland but work in a suburb, you may lose your rights on your daily commute," according to Grant Stancliff of the nonpartisan group Ohio Business Competes

Jason Rudman, who is openly gay, is an executive vice president at KeyBank.

“If we apply a cookie cutter approach that says, ‘You identify as X therefore we don’t have room for you’ … I actually feel as though that’s detrimental to the discussion and dialogue and the solutions we’re trying to build," Rudman said.

Rudman also said enforcing diversity in the workplace is good for business.

CORRECTION: The third paragraph of this story incorrectly stated that Ohio Business Competes asks businesses to individually adopt protections for LGBTQ employees. Rather, they are advocating for such changes at the state level.