Human Rights Campaign Honors Business Leaders on Workplace Equality

by HRC Staff

Corporate Equality Index Awards Reception Honored Companies Leading the Way toward Full Workplace Equality for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Workers

WASHINGTON-The Human Rights Campaign Foundation held its fourth annual Corporate Equality Index Awards Reception in New York on Wednesday evening to recognize companies that earned a perfect score on the 2008 Corporate Equality Index. The Corporate Equality Index rates large U.S. employers based on policies and practices pertinent to GLBT employees, consumers and investors. The reception was held in the Times Square headquarters of Ernst & Young LLP, a leading professional services firm. In addition to scoring 100, Ernst & Young will also be the recipient of the 2008 New York Corporate Equality Award, to be presented this coming February at the 2008 Greater New York HRC Gala.

"There is no question: We are transforming our workplaces, making them safer for millions of employees around the country. In fact, for the first time ever, we can now say that at least 10 million employees are protected on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity on the job," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "But our fight goes on. Government has a lot of work to do to catch-up to the businesses that have set the pace -- and the standard -- for fair workplaces for GLBT employees. We need to pass an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act - ENDA."

Human resource and diversity professionals from more than 115 of the 195 companies that earned a 100 percent score on this year's index were in attendance. During the event, Solmonese highlighted some of 2008 New York Corporate Equality Award Honoree Ernst & Young's major anti-discrimination efforts:

He also thanked all 416 companies that participated in this year's survey, calling it a "record setting year."

The Corporate Equality Index report, released each fall, gave an unprecedented 195 major U.S. businesses the top rating of 100 percent, up from 138 last year-a 41 percent increase. One of the CEI's major findings this year was that a majority of rated employers now offer workplace protections on the basis of gender identity-58 percent. That number has increased from just 29 percent in 2005.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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