'Corporate America knows that fair treatment is not just the right thing to do - it's good for the bottom line,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - In spite of recent boycotts from religious political groups against businesses like Disney and Ford Motor Company, U.S. businesses are leading the way in granting protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families through expanded domestic partner benefits and non-discrimination policies, according to a new report by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
"Corporate America knows that fair treatment is not just the right thing to do - it's good for the bottom line," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Non-discrimination policies and equal employee benefits help recruit and retain the best talent while improving productivity by ensuring that all of their employees can provide for their families."
The report - The State of the Workplace for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans 2004 - shows that at the end of 2004 at least 8,250 employers provide domestic partnership benefits - a 13 percent increase over last year. Among the Fortune 500, 216 companies provided domestic partner benefits, a tenfold increase since 1995, when only 21 did so.
"Equal benefits ensure that every employee working for a company can provide for their family," said Solmonese. "Not only are families safer, but businesses increase retention and productivity at little cost to them."
Non-discrimination policies covering gender identity and expression continue to rise with a total of 51 Fortune 500 companies including transgender people in their policies. This is up 89 percent from 2003 when 27 Fortune 500 companies had the policy.
Exactly 49 of the Fortune 50 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies. ExxonMobil Corp. is the only company in the Fortune 50 that does not. In fact, 410 companies in the Fortune 500 - or 82 percent - included sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies at the end of 2004.
"No one should be fired from their job simply for who they are," said Solmonese. "Employees covered by an inclusive non-discrimination policy can focus on being good employees not concealing who they are."
The report also found:
ﾴTwenty local jurisdictions or municipal agencies added domestic partner benefits coverage for public employees in 2004 - a 12 percent increase.
ﾴThe closer a company is to the top of the Fortune list, the more likely it is to have an inclusive policy. Forty-nine - or 98 percent - of the Fortune 50 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy.
ﾴAt the end of 2004, a total of 67 cities and counties prohibited workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. Six jurisdictions implemented such protections in 2004.
Download a copy of the report.
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