Lancaster company practices inclusion beyond Pride Month

Cris Collingwood//June 27, 2022

Lancaster company practices inclusion beyond Pride Month

Cris Collingwood//June 27, 2022

Tyler Haberstroh and Luke Netherton watch as teen in Levi’s shirt exhales Dragons Breath from a science experiment– PHOTO/PROVIDED

Pride celebrations have marked the month of June throughout the region, but for Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Inc., the month is just part of its culture of inclusion. 

The company encourages employees to come to work as their whole selves, said Amanda Dioszeghy, sustainability group leader for Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Inc. “They know they have the support of everyone in the workplace.” 

The idea of inclusion has been a part of the company’s fabric since Dr. Earl Hess founded Lancaster Laboratories in 1961 in a 2,500-square-foot lab with three employees.  

Dioszeghy said by the time the company grew to 20- to 40 employees, one or two were part of the LGBTQ+ community and Hess felt they should have the same benefits as everyone else. 

Today, the company offers partner benefits to all employees and has installed gender-neutral bathrooms in each of its buildings and the main lobby so anyone who visits knows the culture is inclusive, she said. 

Alison Kelser, sustainability project manager, said pronouns have been removed from the company’s handbook and standard operating procedure material to make people feel more inclusive as well. “We also allow them to remove “dead” names from their badges and emails, anything that is not a legal document,” she said. 

The company is listed on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2022 Corporate Equity Index, the nation’s benchmark for corporate policies and practices for its inclusive practices, she said. 

“Employees appreciate being able to be themselves at work and that helps with employee retention,” Dioszeghy said.  

“In this political climate, people need to know they work in a safe space,” she said, adding that of the more than 2,200 employees at the Lancaster facility, 60 are involved in diversity, equity and inclusion. 

But the programs offered by the company, such as group educational meetings, are open to all employees. Those programs bring in people from the community to talk about resources, programs and outreach opportunities. 

Those outreach opportunities bring employees together, she said. 

 “We are very involved in the community, Dioszeghy said. Last weekend, representatives from the company participated in Lancaster’s Pride Fest, which was attended by more than 7,700 people.  

As part of the celebration, a group of employees set up a table showing a scientific experiment using marshmallows and liquid nitrogen to create what Kelser said looks like dragon’s breath. “Everyone likes a science experiment,” she said. 

The company also supports the Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, the Loop, which is a community hub for the community and the YWCA. Corporate donation dollars were not disclosed. 

“We use a multi-tiered approach to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Kelser said. In addition to corporate dollars, employees raise money to support local programs, which she said is fun for the entire workforce.  

One example she cited was a bake sale where employees sold baked goods to other employees during the workday and raised $800 for the YWCA’s Race Against Racism.  

“Employees are part of the fundraisers and that makes them proud and gives them a presence in the company,” Dioszeghy said.