WASHINGTON—The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the nation’s LGBT civil rights organization, released yesterday the 2016 Corporate Equality Index, an annual report assessing LGBT inclusion in major companies and law firms across the nation, including 42 in Massachusetts.
Corporate America, propelled by HRC and its foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI), has led the way on LGBT inclusion for more than a decade. As the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, the 2016 CEI unveiled that a record 407 businesses – spanning nearly every industry and geography — earned a top score of 100 percent and the coveted distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
That record number of perfect scores was achieved despite demanding new criteria requiring that companies with global operations extend non-discrimination protections for their LGBT workers worldwide.
In total, 851 companies were officially rated in the 2016 CEI, up from 781 in the 2015 report. The report also unofficially rated 176 Fortune 500 companies, which have yet to respond to the CEI survey about their LGBT policies and practices. The average score for companies and law firms based in Massachusetts is 88 percent. Of the 42 companies ranked, 27 earned 100 percent 5 earned 90 percent or above, and 3 earned 80 percent or above.
“Corporate America has long been a leader on LGBT equality, from advocating for marriage equality to expanding essential benefits to transgender employees,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “But this year, many leading U.S. companies have broken new ground by expanding explicit non-discrimination protections to their LGBT workers around the globe. They’ve shown the world that LGBT equality isn’t an issue that stops at our own borders, but extends internationally.”
Despite this progress and a new global commitment, there is much work left to be done in places and in companies where LGBT workers still face significant obstacles.
“While support for LGBT workers is growing in the U.S. and around the world, too many companies still fail to guarantee basic, vital workplace protections that allow employees to bring their full selves to work,” Griffin said. “That continues to create barriers for LGBT people, especially for transgender people, who face high rates of unemployment and discrimination in hiring. These companies should look to the example set by global corporate leaders as a path forward to achieving LGBT equality for all workers, no matter where they live.”
Key national findings contained in the 2016 CEI:
- 407 companies earned a 100 percent in the 2015 CEI, up from 366 in the 2015 report.
- 511 companies participating in this year’s CEI now offer transgender workers at least one health care plan that has transgender-inclusive coverage. That’s a 150 percent increase since 2012, when the CEI first included trans-inclusive health care as a requisite for companies to receive a perfect score;
- Gender identity is now part of non-discrimination policies at 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, up from just 3 percent in 2002;
- More than 330 major employers have adopted supportive inclusion guidelines for transgender workers who are transitioning.
- And 176 Fortune 500 companies were given unofficial scores based on publicly available information
Just as the CEI has successfully steered the country’s top corporations, law firms and their influential leaders toward breaking new ground in workplace equality — from enacting LGBT non-discrimination policies to extending same-sex partner benefits — it has also helped companies move toward full inclusion for their transgender employees.
The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories:
- Non-discrimination policies
- Employment benefits
- Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion
- Public commitment to LGBT equality
- Responsible citizenship
The full report, including a searchable employer database is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
[From a News Release]