For almost a week, Diversity Richmond has received a lot of public attention that has prompted us to remind ourselves of our mission as an organization. Several of our employees exercised their rights and protested our working environment because they felt unsafe. As an organization who prides itself as an advocate and safe space for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, the employees challenged us to live out our mission just as much internally as we do externally.

On Tuesday, our Executive Committee and our employees participated in a five-hour long meeting where we listened to and absorbed our employees’ concerns while supporters gathered outside. Although the meeting lasted for quite some time, the information we gained from the conversation gave us the insights we needed to properly deliberate over the best decision for the entire organization.

After much discussion with the employees and with the Board, we reached solutions that we believe will help propel us forward to better serve our community.

Diversity Richmond is committing to several things, including:

  1. Paying for all hours that workers who protested were scheduled to work between November 6, 2021 and November 15, 2021, if they return on November 16.
  2. Increasing base pay to $15/hour.
  3. Filling staff gaps as quickly as possible to prevent over-exertion.
  4. In-person sexual harassment training for all current and future Diversity Richmond staff, including management.
  5. Ensuring that no employee who has been the subject of sexual harassment complaint is employed or re-hired for any reason.
  6. Contracting with an independent HR professional who will help devise and enforce HR policies and who will serve as an independent arbiter of employee concerns.
  7. Launching an independent investigation into the organization’s staffing, management and leadership structure, culture, and policies.

The controller, will be on paid administrative leave pending an independent investigation of workplace practices, not related to finances. Separately, the President of Diversity has chosen to retire from Diversity, effective November 10, 2021. His decision to retire is not related to any sexual harassment allegations nor has he been accused of any sexual harassment. His retirement was not solicited by the Board.

The employees have been invited to a full Board of Diversity Richmond meeting on Monday, November 15, at 6:00 pm. Although the matter is not yet complete and we appreciate their input, we await a full investigation of the organization to better understand our culture.

We want Diversity Richmond’s environment to be one where no one feels unsafe or unappreciated. We admit that we have learned a lot during this process, and will continue to learn and progress. We appreciate the community’s support during this time, and we ask that you continue to support us as we work through this entire process and work toward a better organization.