America’s leading companies and law firms are continuing to advance vital and increasingly rigorous policies and practices to protect their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workers around the world, according to the 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) released today by HRC Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.
This year, 571 businesses earned the CEI’s top score of 100, meeting new and higher benchmarks -- including a record number offering transgender-inclusive health care policies -- in the most comprehensive assessment of workplace LGBTQ inclusion in the 17-year history of the report. These companies have been designated a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality for their efforts on behalf of their LGBTQ workers at a time when the Trump-Pence administration is doubling down on its sustained attack on LGBTQ people -- from efforts to ban qualified transgender people from serving in the military, to a “license to discriminate” order targeting LGBTQ people as they go about their daily lives.
“The top-scoring companies on this year’s CEI are not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the United States, they are applying these policies to their global operations and impacting millions of people beyond our shores,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Many of these companies have also become vocal advocates for equality in the public square, including the dozens that have signed on to amicus briefs in vital Supreme Court cases and the more than 170 that have joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. Time and again, leading American businesses have shown that protecting their employees and customers from discrimination isn’t just the right thing to do -- it’s also good for business.”
More than 170 top businesses -- including 110 that have earned top scores on the CEI -- are also corporate supporters on the Equality Act, critically important bipartisan legislation that would finally add clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people to our nation's civil rights laws. The LGBTQ community is not explicitly protected by federal non-discrimination law, but these companies are bridging that gap for their employees and their families.
Other key findings revealed in the 2019 CEI:
- The number of U.S. employees with a corporate non-discrimination policy protecting them from sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination is 16.8 million;
- Gender identity is now part of non-discrimination policies at 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies, up from just three percent in 2002;
- More than 500 major employers have adopted supportive inclusion guidelines for transgender workers who are transitioning;
- 136 Fortune 500 companies were given unofficial scores based on publicly available information.
Over the last several years, CEI-rated companies have dramatically expanded their support for transgender workers. This year 83 percent of companies participating in this year’s CEI offer at least one health care policy that is inclusive of their transgender workers, and 73 percent met stringent new criteria that requires all blanket exclusions of medically-necessary care for transgender workers be removed from all health policies the company offers. Additional this year, the CEI scoring criteria requires that to earn a top score, businesses must maintain domestic partner benefits for same- and different-sex partners, and require that their supplier diversity programs explicitly include LGBTQ-owned suppliers.
The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria in four broad categories:
- Non-discrimination policies
- Employment benefits
- Supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility including public commitment to LGBTQ equality
- Responsible citizenship
The full report is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.