December 08, 2004
Sole ‘Zero’ on HRC Corporate Equality Index Improves Score
'This milestone reflects the continuing progress we've seen in corporate America,' said HRC's Daryl Herrschaft.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index currently has no companies with a score of zero following the announcement that ALLTEL Corp. has amended its non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. ALLTEL is a major cell phone, local phone, long-distance and Internet service provider based in Little Rock, Ark.
"This milestone reflects the continuing progress we've seen in corporate America," said Daryl Herrschaft, who runs the HRC workplace advocacy project. "Companies are changing their policies to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees because it gives them a competitive advantage in recruitment, retention and productivity which translates into a better bottom line. But true success is reaching 100 percent. We will continue to advocate aggressively for gender identity protections and domestic partner health insurance to achieve more equitable workplaces."
The CEI is an annual rating of companies' treatment of GLBT employees, consumers and investors. ALLTEL was the only company to receive a rating of zero on the Human Rights Campaign's 2004 CEI released Sept. 28, 2004. With ALLTEL's action, every company that has received a score of zero on the index since its inception in 2002 has taken steps to improve their workplace policies for GLBT employees. ALLTEL's score is now a 29 on the 100-point scale. ALLTEL's shift in policy also came at the urging of its shareholders, led by Walden Asset Management.
"ALLTEL can easily take the next steps by adding gender identity and expression to their non-discrimination policies and providing equitable health benefits to domestic partners of their employees," said Herrschaft.
ALLTEL competitors AT&T, BellSouth, Cingular, T-Mobile, SBC Communications and Verizon all have non-discrimination policies and health benefits that include gay and lesbian employees. ALLTEL's decision brings to 410 - or 82 percent - the number of Fortune 500 companies that include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies. Forty-eight Fortune 500 companies include gender identity and expression in their non-discrimination policies.
Recent HRC work has focused on improving corporate policies for transgender workers by convening forums of corporate leaders to discuss adding gender identity and expression to their non-discrimination policies.
View the complete Corporate Equality Index.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that GLBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.