Monday, October 4, 2010

Down To Business: Corporate Equality Index 2011

The Human Rights Campaign recently released its 9th annual Corporate Equality Index 2011: Rating American Workplaces on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Equality

This report assesses American workplaces on LGBT equality. For the first time this year, all Fortune 500 companies, including those that did not voluntary participate, are scored on their workplace practices.

The report evaluates more than 30 specific policies and practices covering aspects of employment for LGBT workers from non-discrimination protections and the training surrounding those policies to domestic partnership and legal dependent benefits to gender transition guidelines and LGBT employee resource groups.

(The report also discusses new criteria for future studies that will go into effect next year, as well as discusses how the evaluation process has changed over time. The new standards will include 18 additional criteria that relate to benefits discrimination for transgender employees and dependents, full equal benefits for same-sex partners and spouses, and organizational competency on LGBT workplace issues that go beyond written policies.)

A total of 337 major U.S. businesses earned the top rating of 100 percent, up from 305 last year .

A few of the survey’s highlights:

  • Corporate America protects LGBT workers from discrimination and provides benefits in ways that our own government does not. While only 29% of the U.S. population lives in states with statewide non-discrimination statutes that specify sexual orientation and gender identity, 99% of CEI-rated companies include sexual orientation and 76% include sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination policies. In 2002, only 5% of CEI-rated companies included gender identity among their non-discrimination policies.
  • In 2004, only 3% of CEI-rated companies addressed transgender health with limited benefit offerings. Today, 79% of CEI-rated companies provide this limited coverage and 85 companies specifically, including Google, Coca Cola, and AT&T, offer at least one healthcare plan option to all employees that covers many medically necessary transition-related treatments, including hormone therapies and sexual affirmation surgeries.
  • In 2002, 70% of CEI-rated companies provided domestic partnership healthcare benefits. Today, 95% of CEI-rated companies provide that coverage.
Several high-profile companies did not respond to HRC’s invitation to be rated. Notable non-responders include Pottery Barn and West Elm (both part of Williams-Sonoma Inc.), Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillard’s, PetSmart, Western Union, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Tyson Foods, AFLAC, Foot Locker, DirecTV and News Corp. (owner of both Fox News and HarperCollins Publishers).

(Fifteen points were deducted from the otherwise perfect scores of Target, Best Buy, and 3M for failing to respond to requests to take corrective actions following their sizable contributions to MN Forward, a political committee supporting the election of an anti-gay candidate for governor of Minnesota.)

The report was released on the eve of this year's Out & Equal Workplace Summit.

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