Decade of Progress in Workplace Equality Chronicled in HRC’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index
December 8, 2011 by Deena Fidas, Director, Workplace Project
As the culmination of a decade of progress, this year’s Corporate Equality Index demonstrates a seismic shift in how major U.S. businesses have made their workplaces more welcoming and equitable for our community.
The CEI was the cornerstone of an ambitious strategy to transform American workplaces by developing a roadmap and assessment of policies, practices and benefits that would be more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, thereby bridging businesses goals of recruiting and retaining top talent with that of LGBT equality.
In 2002 when the CEI began, transgender workers were in many respects, the most marginalized in the community – just 5% of rated employers included “gender identity” in their non-discrimination policies; none afforded healthcare coverage for medically necessary transition-related procedures and furthermore, so-called “transgender exclusions” written into most commercially available healthcare plans were so broad as to bar coverage for many non-transition medical procedures to which a similarly situated cis-gender (non-transgender) person would have access. Managers and Human Resource departments were often ill-equipped to respectfully and supportively handle an employee’s gender transition.
Transgender workers now enjoy workplace protections at 80% of the rated CEI employers (50% of the Fortune-ranked 500); have access to transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage at over 200 major U.S. businesses; and, a record 208 major employers submitted gender transition guidelines – the vast majority of which were adopted from the HRC Foundation’s template guidelines which include terminology and guidance on HR issues as well as respectful restroom and facility use based on a person’s gender identity rather than medical status.
We are continuing this important work via a new initiative, the Insurance Equality Task Force, to continue the momentum that has started with this groundbreaking year of progress.