Amid LGBTQ+ state of emergency, and despite anti-LGBTQ+ attacks on businesses, company participation in the CEI is up by nearly nine percent
2023-2024 CEI includes new criteria that raises bar for companies to ensure they meet evolving expectations of allyship
94 percent of all CEI-rated businesses offer transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage–compared to zero percent in the 2002 inaugural CEI
WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released its 2023-2024 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring company policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality for more than two decades. A reflection of the majority sentiment on LGBTQ+ issues, and in stark contrast to radical legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, a record 1,384 businesses participated this year, including 378 of the Fortune 500 companies. In total, 545 companies earned a score of 100 and will be honored with HRC’s Equality 100 Award as Leaders in LGBTQ+ Workplace Inclusion
“Our updated Corporate Equality Index comes at a time when our community is under attack by fringe actors hoping to eradicate our identity and push us back in the closet, including in our workplaces and where we shop. But businesses aren’t buying it,” said Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “The future workforce is more out and allied than ever before in our nation’s history, and this year’s CEI shows a business community looking for ways to further support LGBTQ+ workers and their families. Participation in the CEI allows companies to stay competitive, gain recognition, and improve recruitment and retention going forward.”
Throughout the CEI’s 21-year history, criteria have evolved to ensure more robust, inclusive policies for LGBTQ+ workers. This was especially important for this report, as we conclude an historically damaging year for the LGBTQ+ community – especially for Black and Brown trans and nonbinary families. The HRC Foundation’s 6th iteration of the CEI criteria centers those who are most marginalized by focusing on on expanding gender-affirming health care and workplace policies, ensuring equality in LGBTQ+ spousal and partner benefits, centering LGBTQ+ intersectionality through training and data collection best practices, and greater scrutiny on corporate social responsibility — raising the bar for LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace.
The companies participating in the 2023-2024 CEI stepped up–and overwhelmingly committed to driving greater inclusion for the transgender and non-binary community. A record-breaking 95 percent of participating businesses have non-discrimination protections specific to gender identity, up from 5 percent in the inaugural edition in 2002. These critical non-discrimination protections cover millions of employees in the U.S. and around the globe. In addition, 70 percent of all CEI-rated employers have instituted gender transition guidelines with supportive policies and documentation guidance to proactively support transitioning employees, their managers, and their colleagues.
“For well over two decades, businesses have played an important role in furthering LGBTQ+ equality by centering employee needs and voices when it comes to workplace inclusion. While there is much more work to be done, year-over-year growth in CEI participation is evidence of a business community that recognizes the responsibility and value in upholding equity and inclusion,” said RaShawn “Shawnie” Hawkins, Human Rights Campaign Senior Director of Workplace Equality. “Our goal at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation is to work in a spirit of partnership with companies, providing educational resources and leading benchmarking, and collaborating on ways for businesses to support the LGBTQ+ community at a time when we face unprecedented legislative attacks, heightened anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and physical violence. The CEI is an ever-evolving tool – a blueprint that companies can use to show up more effectively in supporting their LGBTQ+ employees and their families.”
Other key findings revealed in the 2023-2024 CEI include:
The first year of the CEI (2002) included 319 participating companies. This year, we surveyed 1,384 participants, nearly 9% growth from the previous year.
545 companies earned a score of 100 and will be honored with HRC’s Equality 100 Award as Leaders in LGBTQ+ Workplace Inclusion
378 Fortune 500 businesses have official CEI ratings based on submitted surveys, with an average score of 86 percent.
94 percent of all CEI-rated businesses offer transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage, up from 0 in 2002.
70% of CEI participants documented that they provide inclusive benefits for same- and different-sex spouses and partners.
NEW CRITERIA - 70 percent of all CEI-rated employers have instituted gender transition guidelines with supportive policies and documentation guidance to proactively support transitioning employees, their managers, and their colleagues.
NEW CRITERIA - 63 percent of all CEI-rated employers have instituted workplace policies that provide a safe and affirming experience for transgender and non-binary workers. These policies include trans-inclusive or all-gender restrooms, gender-neutral dress codes and how an employee’s information is displayed, such as procedures for changing names and pronouns throughout company-wide databases.
Outline of 2023-2024 CEI Criteria
Employment Non-Discrimination Policy includes sexual orientation and gender identity for all operations (5 points)
Equivalency in same- and different-sex spousal and partner medical and soft benefits (10 points)
Equivalency in spousal and domestic partner family formation benefits regardless of sex (10 points)
Equal health coverage for transgender individuals without exclusion for medically necessary care (25 points)
Business provides an LGBTQ+ Benefits Guide for its employees (5 points)
Business provides four LGBTQ+ internal training and accountability efforts including an intersectionality training (5 points)
Business provides at least one LGBTQ+ data collection effort (5 points)
Business provides Gender Transition Guidelines and at least one additional transgender inclusive policy or practice for its employees (5 points)
Business has either an LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group or an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Diversity Council (10 points)
Business engages in at least five distinct LGBTQ+ efforts of outreach or engagement to the broader LGBTQ+ Community (15 points)
Business follows an LGBTQ+ supplier non-discrimination policy and an LGBTQ+ inclusive philanthropic giving guidelines (5 points)
Companies rated in the CEI include Fortune magazine’s 500 largest publicly traded businesses, American Lawyer magazine’s top 200 revenue-grossing law firms (AmLaw 200), and hundreds of publicly and privately held mid- to large-sized businesses. This information is made available to the public through a convenient employer search tool, in addition to the full report.
Earlier this year, the HRC Foundation released its Equality Rising report, which concluded that LGBTQ+ workers, on average, are half as likely to be out to their Human Resources department than to coworkers on their team – suggesting a potential lack of trust, or lack of opportunity to report. The CEI creates a pathway by which employers can learn about and develop workplace environments that are more inclusive, and also makes room for LGBTQ+ workers to hold their employers accountable for equitable workplace policies and practices.
The full 2023-2024 Corporate Equality Index is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.
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