Strengthening Workplace Diversity Focus of New Partnership

January 5, 2010

COLUMBIA, SC – January 5, 2010 – The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce an enhanced partnership with the SC Diversity Council to encourage, support and educate employers as they seek to value and strengthen diversity in the workplace. Already an affiliate of the South Carolina Chamber, the SC Diversity Council will now merge into the Chamber’s committee structure to become a stronger, unified voice of the business community.

Working together, the Chamber and the SC Diversity Council will educate the business community on diversity-related issues, encourage open and honest discussion among business leaders, provide communication channels between key community, legislative and business organizations and strengthen the business community through professional development in the area of diversity awareness and training.

“This enhanced alliance will be the vehicle for influencing results-oriented improvement of diversity education and initiatives,” said Otis B. Rawl Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.  “Through proactive advocacy of statewide diversity policies, focused research dissemination and sponsored initiatives, this group will be the voice for business on diversity development issues.”

Cheryl Behymer, (pictured, left) an attorney with national labor and employment law firm Fisher & Phillips in the firm’s Columbia office, will begin serving as chair of the SC Diversity Council in January 2010. She has a long history of specializing in affirmative action plans and audits, employment discrimination and harassment and cases involving the Family and Medical Leave Act. As head of the council, Behymer will work with employers around the state to increase knowledge and positive action relating to diversity in the state’s workplaces.

“Diversity can be a complex factor in today’s workplace, and I’m excited about this chance to further help South Carolina employers understand and encourage diversity,” said Behymer. Alongside her ongoing activity with the SC Diversity Council, she has served on the Cultural Council Board of Richland and Lexington counties and in 2009 received the prestigious honor of being named a Riley Institute Diversity Fellow.

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s first state chamber Accredited with Distinction by the U.S. Chamber, is the state’s largest statewide broad-based business and industry trade association representing more than 6,500 member companies and more than 600,000 member employees, with 90 percent of membership comprised of small businesses. As the unified voice for business and industry, the Chamber is a catalyst for increasing per capita income and enhancing the state’s global competitiveness in order to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians.

Fisher & Phillips LLP

Fisher & Phillips LLP ( employers nationally in labor, employment, civil rights, employee benefits and immigration matters. The firm has more than 225 attorneys in 21 offices. Founded in 1943, it is one of the first U.S. law firms to concentrate its practice exclusively upon representation of employers in labor and employment matters. In addition to its Columbia office, the firm has offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Irvine, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Louisville, New Jersey, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland ME, Portland OR, San Diego, San Francisco, and Tampa.