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September 27, 2004

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HRC Reveals ‘Best and Worst’ Companies for Gay Employees

New Report Card Shows Number of Top-Scoring Companies Doubled in Last Year

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign Foundation unveiled its third annual report card on corporate America's treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, which includes 28 companies with first-ever perfect records and eight companies with the worst records. The number of companies that scored 100 percent doubled in one year to 56, the report found.

"Corporate America knows that fair treatment for employees is not just the right thing to do, it's good for the bottom line," said Cheryl Jacques, president of HRC. "These aren't movie ratings. An imperfect score could mean an unfair firing or families without health care."

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's report card - the Corporate Equality Index - rates Fortune 500 and other major companies on a scale from 0 to 100 percent on seven key indicators of fair treatment for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees. These include policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and health care benefits for employees' partners.

In 2002, the first year of the index, only 13 companies earned a perfect rating. In 2003, 28 companies rated 100 percent. The 56 companies that earned 100 percent in 2004 are permitted to use the Corporate Equality Index 100 percent seal in advertising and other marketing tools. View the complete list of the companies that scored 100 percent in 2004.

"This rating acknowledges Ford's deep commitment to building and nurturing an inclusive and respectful culture in which all employees feel encouraged, and able, to contribute to their fullest potential," said Jim Padilla, chief operating officer and chairman of automotive operations at Ford Motor Co. "Not only is this the right thing to do, it is essential to the future of our business." View other statements from corporations that received 100 percent.

The eight lowest-scoring companies include Little Rock, Ark.-based ALLTEL Corp., a long-distance and wireless telecommunications firm serving more than 12 million customers in 26 U.S. states, the only company to receive a score of zero in 2004.

The other seven, each receiving a score of 14 percent, are: BB&T Corp., based in Winston-Salem, N.C., one of the state's oldest banks, operating more than 1,100 branches in the U.S. Exxon Mobil Corp., based in Irving, Texas, the world's second-largest oil company International Steel Group Inc., based in Richfield, Ohio, the largest steelmaker in North America, serving the automotive and construction markets Meijer Inc., which sells everything from French toast to power saws in nearly 160 stores in the Midwest New NGC Inc., based in Charlotte, N.C., the second-largest gypsum wallboard manufacturer in the United States Perot Systems Corp., founded by 1992 Reform Party presidential candidate Ross Perot, which provides consulting and information technology services and Shaw Industries Inc., based in Dalton, Ga., which sells ceramic tile and hardwood flooring and is the world's No. 1 carpet manufacturer.

The Corporate Equality Index is based on a survey sent to the Fortune 500, the Forbes 200 largest privately held companies and any company with at least 500 employees that asks to be rated or for which HRC has enough information to derive a score. The 2004 report rates 379 companies.

HRC also unveiled a more powerful online database that displays more information about company policies and practices and allows users to search across all companies on a variety of criteria.

The release of the report coincides with the annual Out & Equal Workplace Conference held Sept.30 to Oct. 2 in Tempe, Ariz. The conference brings together hundreds of corporate leaders to discuss GLBT issues in the workplace.

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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