Human Rights Campaign's State of the Workplace Report Breaks News on Milestone: Majority of Fortune

by HRC Staff

Fortune 500 Companies Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation at 86 percent, 10 Times the Number of Fortune Companies Prohibit Discrimination Based on Gender Identity Today Compared with 2001

WASHINGTON - The American workplace has reached a milestone this year with the majority of Fortune 500 companies offering domestic partner health insurance benefits, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's report released today, "The State of the Workplace for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Americans 2005-2006." Eighty-six percent of Fortune 500 companies also include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy, and 10 times the number of Fortune companies cover gender identity today compared to 2001.

"While protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans are stalled in Congress, corporate America continues to surge ahead. This isn't a Democratic or a Republican issue. It's an issue of basic fairness and good business," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "As 'The State of the Workplace' shows, an investment in equal benefits is minor to the employer but priceless to employees. By removing barriers to employee success, corporate America is ultimately removing barriers to the success of companies across the nation."

Solmonese continued, "We're not only tracking progress in corporate America, but we're actively involved in making it. Our Workplace Project has worked with hundreds of executives and employees over the past year alone, providing on-site training and cutting-edge research to assist employers implementing fair and equal policies."

"The Human Rights Campaign is an impetus for corporate America," said Hayward Bell, chief diversity officer of Raytheon Company. "They have been a leader in identifying and encouraging best employment practices for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. 'The State of the Workplace' and other Human Rights Campaign tools help us evaluate the bar as it relates to treating employees fairly and equitably."

"The State of the Workplace" is an annual report published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Workplace Project. This report is a national source of information on laws and workplace policies surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity. Download the report.

Key findings from this year's report include:

ᄡFor the first time since employers began providing health insurance coverage to employees' same-sex partners, a majority of America's largest businesses now extend
domestic partner benefits.

ᄡAs of June 1, 2006, 253 - or 51 percent - of the 2006 Fortune 500 companies provided benefits to employees' same-sex domestic partners.

ᄡEighty-six percent of Fortune 500 Companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation

ᄡEighty-one Fortune 500 companies included the terms "gender identity" and/or "gender expression" in their non-discrimination statements - 10 times the number of Fortune companies that had such policies in 2001.

ᄡAs the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community fends off attacks from lawmakers regarding equal marriage rights, there have been wins in anti-discrimination and benefits policies at the state and local levels.

oIn 2005, Montana became the 13th state to extend domestic partner benefits to state employees. The state was joined by 16 local municipalities that extended domestic partner benefits during the period covered by this report. As of June 1, 2006, a total of 201 cities and counties granted equal benefits to employees' partners.

oSeven states prohibit discrimination in private sector employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity - California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Washington, plus the District of Columbia. Three states - Illinois, Maine and Washington - joined the list since Jan. 1, 2005. Ten additional states ban workplace discrimination exclusively on sexual orientation.

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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