Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

ZS expands LGBTQIA+ benefits and earns Equality 100 Award

By Kailah Peters

Jan. 25, 2024 | Article | 3-minute read

ZS expands LGBTQIA+ benefits and earns Equality 100 Award

Diverse minds are the foundation of innovation. ZS works to continually improve our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices because we know expansive representation and a collaborative culture fosters talent, new ways of thinking and unique solutions to complex challenges. We commit to helping every ZSer thrive and bring their authentic talents to ZS for meaningful careers, personal fulfillment and purpose-driven impact. After all, their passion changes lives and the health of our world—and it is our responsibility to feed that passion.


Recently, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation recognized our efforts by awarding ZS a perfect score, Equality 100, in their annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI)—a leading report that evaluates corporate policies and practices on LGBTQIA+ workplace equality in the U.S. ZS was part of the 39% of participating companies that were able to meet HRC’s new heightened expectations (compared to 67% in years past).

Where passion changes lives

The HRC Foundation is the educational arm of the U.S.’s largest civil rights organization, working to achieve equality for LGBTQIA+ individuals. Through measurements like the CEI, HRC seeks to make significant changes in the everyday lives of LGBTQIA+ people.


This year, the HRC raised the bar and strengthened the standards expected of corporate LGBTQIA+ equity and inclusion policies across the U.S. The criteria for achieving a perfect score were more rigorous than years prior, with new expectations around nondiscrimination policies, equitable benefits for LGBTQIA+ workers and their families, inclusive workplace culture and corporate social responsibility.


When ZS heard of these new expectations, we immediately responded and formed a team of stakeholders from legal, human resources, our DEI center of expertise and Pride@ZS, our LGBTQIA+ community group, to drive necessary changes. For Natalie Hanson, principal and Pride@ZS executive sponsor, this mission was personal and important.

“I remember when I first interviewed at ZS,” Natalie recalls. “I told the recruiter, I have a wife and two children. Before I can accept this role, I need to know that insurance and benefits will extend to my family. But it’s more than just a condition of employment; it’s foundational, it’s a signal of the culture at large.”


With this in mind, Natalie and the team analyzed the new expectations laid out in the CEI, specifically looking for ZS’s biggest opportunities for improvement. Together, they found that the greatest change ZS could make would be to expand gender-affirming healthcare coverage.


“There is more understanding of what our trans and nonbinary colleagues need to feel safe and good in their own skin,” Natalie says. “The requirements and scope of the services are much more extensive than it’s been in the past. For example, the CEI named specific procedures that should be covered.”


ZS recognizes that transgender is a broad term that includes people who socially and medically transition, as well as others who feel their assigned sex at birth does not reflect their true gender identity, expression or behavior. Gender transition is a personal process, and ZS recognizes that there are many ways to transition. We’ve expanded our benefit options to ensure all ZSers are empowered to be openly who they are.


After negotiations with ZS’s insurance providers, the team confirmed coverage for several gender-affirming care options, including reconstructive surgery, hair removal and common prescription-based hormone replacement therapies. You can explore the specific benefits available to LGBTQIA+ ZSers that reside in the U.S.


This perfect score emphasizes ZS’s ongoing dedication to LGBTQIA+ workplace equality. ZS is proud to stand among 545 major U.S. businesses on the Equality 100 Award index. We celebrate this achievement toward greater equity and inclusion as a testament to the collaborative work across human resources, DEI, legal and ZS at large.


To learn more about our commitment to DEI initiatives and life at ZS, follow us on social media.

Life at ZS

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