Workplace Equality Has Made Strides During The Past Decade
What can a corporation do to make its policies more fair for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees? A lot, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
The Human Rights Campaign has released its annual Corporate Equality Index [PDF], which rates employers based on workplace equality. The report shows progress and a greatly expanded scope since the first edition was released a decade ago.
“The past decade of the Corporate Equality Index represents enormous change in the ways corporate America has prioritized the protection, recruitment and retention of LGBT employees,” reads the report. “The largest and most successful U.S. businesses have proven—across industry and geography—that LGBT workplace equality is good for business.”
The Corporate Equality Index rates employers on a variety of practices including non-discrimination policies, domestic partner health benefits, and public commitment to the LGBT community. This year's index implemented “more stringent criteria” regarding transgender health benefits.
The index is based on a variety of sources including a survey sent to employers, donations and shareholder connections to anti-LGBT groups, and allegations or individual reports of workplace discrimination.
Prominent employers that received a perfect rating of 100 percent in 2011 include Barnes & Noble, Medtronic, and Morgan Stanley.
“An inclusive, non-discriminatory environment is imperative to running a successful business that attracts, develops and retains the best talent,” read a statement by Office Depot, which also earned a perfect score. “Office Depot is committed to doing the right thing by living our commitment to diversity in our workforce, products, suppliers and services. We will continue to focus on maintaining an inclusive work environment for all."
Prominent employers with low scores in 2012 include Halliburton and News Corp, both earning 15 percent based on information gathered in spite of non-response on the official survey.
By industry, law firms were the highest performer by a 33 percent margin, with 55 percent of firms surveyed receiving a perfect score on the index. The lowest-performing industries include mining and metals, oil and gas, and home furnishing.
The authors are confident that the Corporate Equality Index has been responsible for improved conditions for LGBT workers during the past decade.
“LGBT people are an integral part of the American workforce and, similarly, the benefits and protections of employment are crucial to our community as we continue to work for full inclusion,” reads the report. “This report represents huge strides for LGBT people.”
The Human Rights Campaign is an LGBT advocacy and education organization based in Washington, D.C. It was established during the early 1980s.
Jon Christian is a reporter with Campus Progress. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Christian.