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Companies in Middle America Seeking More LGBT Workers

March 24, 2016, 4:00 AM

When Hormel Foods added gay pride holidays to its 2012 corporate calendar, there was instant pushback, recalled Larry Lyons, senior vice president for human resources. He received angry e-mails objecting to the decision, and several employees confronted him in person to complain. The calendar, he said, led to “some very difficult conversations that needed to happen” and served as a referendum on Hormel’s support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers.

It’s common for companies that want to attract younger, more diverse employees, including LGBT workers, to meet such resistance, especially those in the Midwest and the South that aren’t...

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