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World’s most LGBT-friendly businesses revealed by Human Rights Campaign

A record-breaking 407 companies achieve the top score of 100 on the HRC 2016 Corporate Equality Index; New index entries include Twitter, PayPal and Airbnb

World’s most LGBT-friendly businesses revealed by Human Rights Campaign
The Washington Post/Getty Images
Chad Griffin of Human Rights Campaign

Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the US’s biggest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, has today issued its 2016 Corporate Equality Index.

The CEI is widely respected as one of the biggest and most authoritative rankings of the business world in relation to LGBT diversity and inclusion policies and practices.

In last year’s report, 781 US businesses were ranked, with 366 organizations scoring the top ranking of 100 marks. The 2016 report includes 851 businesses, and of those, a record-breaking 407 achieved the top score of 100.

This level of progress comes despite the fact that the organization has raised the bar in terms of achieving a perfect score.

Heralding it as the ‘First Global Corporate Equality Index’, companies and laws firms could only score 100 if, in addition to achieving other measures, they were able to demonstrate that they provide non-discrimination protections to their employees worldwide.

They must also insist that their US contractors abide by inclusive non-discrimination policies.

Top scorers include many household names. Eleven of Fortune 1000’s top 20 companies scored a perfect 100, including Chevron, Apple, General Motors, Ford Motor, General Electric, AT&T, CVS Health Corp, Fannie Mae, McKesson Corp, Hewlett-Packard and JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Companies included for the first time on the Index include Dropbox Inc. (scoring 100), Airbnb (100), Twitter (100), PayPal (100) and Eventbrite (85).

Businesses that have seen significant improvement include Adidas North America (up from 80 to 100), Convergys Corp.
(from 55 to 100), Eaton Corp (15 to 100) and Kelly Services Inc.
(from 30 to 95).

In a statement to Gay Star Business, Nina Ramsey, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Kelly Services, said that the company, ‘Embraced and captured the invitation to respond in full this year and are thrilled that the survey results captured the complete depth of the inclusion efforts we offer to all our employees.’

‘The number one thing that makes a great company are great people,’ said Adidas Group North America President, Mark King. ‘We have a genuine care for our people and foster an environment of innovative thinking, collaboration and inclusivity to lead change for our industry. Sports are a platform for mutual respect and we use that same theme to create a workplace full of diverse and positive energy.’

The only company to ever score a negative mark on the CEI, Exxon Mobil, saw its ranking jump from -25 to 40 after it introduced new policies to benefit LGBT employees. Earlier this year, for the first time, the Texas-based oil giant supported employees who wished to march at Pride Houston.

HRC says that the index demonstrates how hundreds of US-based multinational companies are not only promoting LGBT-friendly workplace policies in the U.S. but helping to advance the cause of LGBT equality around the globe.

The CEI is being launched by HRC President Chad Griffin at events in Atlanta today and Mexico City tomorrow.

‘This is a milestone in the history of the CEI, and it comes as corporate America continues to break new ground in the fight for LGBT equality,’ Griffin said in a statement.

‘Our nation’s top companies this year have risen in record-breaking numbers to the challenge of extending non-discrimination protections to their LGBT employees around the globe.

‘This year’s CEI demonstrates that business understands what many have long known: The fight for LGBT equality does not end at our borders but is a global endeavour that must be pursued with greater urgency than ever before.’

Other key findings of this year’s Index include the fact that 511 of participating companies now offer transgender-inclusive health plan coverage; a 150% increase since 2012, when the CEI first included trans-inclusive health care as a requisite for companies to receive a perfect score.

Ninety-five law firms, out of 156 ranked, scored a perfect score of 100, making it by far the biggest sector to achieve top scoring. Employment sectors at the bottom end of the scale included ‘Mining and metals’ (only one company, Alcoa Inc. scored 100 out of four firms ranked), and ‘Engineering and Construction’ (only Turner Construction scored 100 out of nine firms ranked).

Deena Fidas, director of HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program

Deena Fidas, director of HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program

The CEI’s co-author, Deena Fidas says that all those to be ranked were to be celebrated, but more work needs to be done.

‘The results from this year’s Corporate Equality Index demonstrate that the nation’s leading companies see full LGBT inclusion as the standard for workplace equality,’ said Fidas, director of the HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program.

‘As we celebrate these results, we should not lose sight of the work ahead needed to ensure that these policies and benefits support a true culture of inclusion for LGBT employees … The goal won’t be achieved until companies turn inclusive policies into everyday practice across their organizations.’

The full Corporate Equality Index can be read here.

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