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A victory to ensure workplace inclusion for all


Today, I am thrilled to see that in a 6-to-3 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that the LGBT+ community has a right to justice and said a resounding ‘no’ to workplace discrimination against LGBT+ employees.

This is a historic case and not only symbolically, as it will have real impact protecting transgender and gay people from discrimination.

I am also PROUD that once more Nokia demonstrated that we really walk the talk when it comes to removing barriers for the hiring, development and promotion of LGBT+ people at our company.

We played a small part in this case as one of the 200 plus companies that joined in the amicus brief filed with the Court supporting the employee plaintiffs’ case. This embodies our belief in equality of every individual, regardless of gender, race, religion, color, nationality, ethnic origin, citizenship, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, characteristics or expression, marital status, membership or non-membership in a trade union, or any other protected class.

Nokia actively works to ensure that our value of inclusiveness applies to every one of our employees.  I am extremely pleased that this value is also being recognized by countries, such as the US, with the backing of legal protections for the LGBT+ community.

The plaintiffs in this case had an opportunity to accept a settlement and remain silent on a great injustice. Instead, they decided to fight against discrimination and for LGBT+ rights. Today I stand united with them and, as Chief Legal Officer, I find nothing more rewarding than seeing justice serving its purpose.

As noted by the Court in its landmark opinion:

“Sometimes small gestures can have unexpected consequences. Major initiatives practically guarantee them. In our time, few pieces of federal legislation rank in significance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There, in Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex.”

Quoting the words of Aimee Stephens, one of the plaintiffs who sadly passed away a few weeks ago and wrote a statement in anticipation that the Court might decide in her favour:

“Firing me because I am transgender was discrimination plain and simple, and I am glad the court recognised what happed to me was wrong and illegal. I am thankful that the court said my transgender siblings and I have a place in our laws, it made me feel safer and more included in society.”

I celebrate this decision as a milestone in the continuing effort to achieve more inclusion, more diversity and ensure zero tolerance for discrimination.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokia using #NokiaPride, #LGTB, #equality, #Pride2020, #PrideMonth, #inclusion.

Nassib Abou-Khalil

About Nassib Abou-Khalil

Nassib Abou-Khalil has been Nokia CLO since August 2019. He joined Nokia in September 2014 as head of Legal & Compliance for the MEA region, later becoming General Counsel for Customer Operations and Deputy Chief Legal Officer, Business. Following the announcement of the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent by Nokia, Nassib led the compliance integration planning work, developing and implementing the initial combined company's compliance program.

In addition to his legal work, Nassib is an outspoken advocate for inclusion and diversity, working closely with Nokia's LGBT+ employee resource group, EQUAL! An out leader himself, he took part in the launch of the OUT Leaders program at Nokia. Nassib is based in Finland and has lived in Lebanon, Canada, The Netherlands, Qatar and the UAE. In his spare time, he enjoys contemporary art, music including opera, and hiking in the countryside, particularly in the Alps.

Tweet me at @NASSIBAK

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