Press Room

August 31, 2004

Category: Domestic Partners

HRC Condemns Fortune Companies’ ‘Pets Not Partners’ Insurance Policies

Press Release Text 'Paying for a parrot's but not a person's hospital stay is absurd,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today condemned Home Depot, Sprint, Ecolab and Waste Management - all Fortune 500 companies - for offering their employees pet insurance but not domestic partner health insurance.
"Paying for a parrot's but not a person's hospital stay is absurd," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "This is no joke. Employees deserve better from these companies."

The HRC Foundation's WorkNet project uncovered the fact that these four companies all offer pet insurance but no domestic partner health insurance, despite having non-discrimination policies covering sexual orientation - and one covering gender identity. Home Depot is based in Atlanta Sprint is based in Overland Park, Kan. Waste Management is based in Houston and Ecolab is in St. Paul, Minn.

Two of the three companies will receive failing grades when HRC WorkNet releases its annual Corporate Equality Index later this month. The index measures how equitably companies treat their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors. Home Depot will receive a score of 57 percent Waste Management, 43 percent and Sprint, 71 percent. Ecolab will not be scored because the company has never replied to the HRC questionnaire.

"Smart, forward-looking companies understand that treating their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees equitably is good for business," said HRC Education Director Kim I. Mills, who oversees WorkNet. "We hope that these four companies will see the irony of their pets-over-people policy and strive for the highest scores on our index by offering domestic partner health insurance."

At least one Home Depot executive appeared to agree. Home Depot's vice president of diversity and inclusion, Gloria Johnson-Goins, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the company's policy "looked funny to me, too" when she arrived at the company 13 months ago.

"It's time for these companies to change ways and commit to their employees' families, not just their family dogs," added Jacques.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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