2021 Corporate Equality Index Criteria

Filed under: Workplace

Updated on 06/05/2020

Launched in 2002, the HRC Foundation's Corporate Equality Index has become a roadmap and benchmarking tool for U.S. businesses in the evolving field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer equality in the workplace. The HRC Foundation is committed to keeping the criteria for the CEI rigorous, fair and transparent by identifying emerging best practices that improve the experiences of LGBTQ employees of participating businesses. Equally important, we are committed to providing the resources and consultation that enable each business to attain a 100 percent rating.

Rating Criteria for the 2021 CEI

1. Workforce Protections (30 points possible) 

  • Policy includes sexual orientation for all operations (15)

  • Policy includes gender identity or expression for all operations (15)

2. Inclusive Benefits (30 points possible)  

To secure full credit for benefits criteria, each benefit must be available to all benefits-eligible U.S. employees. In areas where more than one health insurance plan is available, at least one inclusive plan must be available.

  • Equivalency in same- and different-sex spousal medical and soft benefits (10) 
  • Equivalency in same- and different-sex domestic partner medical and soft benefits (10) 
  • Equal health coverage for transgender individuals without exclusion for medically necessary care (10) (more info)

3. Supporting an Inclusive Culture & Corporate Social Responsibility (40 points possible)  

a. Three LGBTQ ​Internal Training and Education Best Practices (10)
Businesses must demonstrate a firm-wide, sustained and accountable commitment to diversity and cultural competency, including at least three of the following elements:

  • New hire training clearly states that the nondiscrimination policy includes gender identity and sexual orientation and provides definitions or scenarios illustrating the policy for each
  • Supervisors undergo training that includes gender identity and sexual orientation as discrete topics (may be part of a broader training), and provides definitions or scenarios illustrating the policy for each
  • Integration of gender identity and sexual orientation in professional development, skills-based or other leadership training that includes elements of diversity and/or cultural competency
  • Gender transition guidelines with supportive restroom, dress code and documentation guidance
  • Anonymous employee engagement or climate surveys conducted on an annual or biennial basis allow employees the option to identify as LGBTQ.
  • Data collection forms that include employee race, ethnicity, gender, military and disability status — typically recorded as part of employee records — include optional questions on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Senior management/executive performance measures include LGBTQ diversity metrics

b. Employee Group –OR– Diversity Council (10)
c. Three Distinct Efforts of Outreach or Engagement to Broader LGBTQ Community (15)
Businesses must demonstrate ongoing LGBTQ-specific engagement that extends across the firm, including at least three of the following:

  • LGBTQ employee recruitment efforts with demonstrated reach of LGBTQ applicants (required documentation may include a short summary of the event or an estimation of the number of candidates reached)
  • Supplier diversity program with demonstrated effort to include certified LGBTQ suppliers
  • Marketing or advertising to LGBTQ consumers (e.g.: advertising with LGBTQ content, advertising in LGBTQ media or sponsoring LGBTQ organizations and events)
  • Philanthropic support of at least one LGBTQ organization or event (e.g.: financial, in kind or pro bono support)
  • Demonstrated public support for LGBTQ equality under the law through local, state or federal legislation or initiatives 

d. LGBTQ Corporate Social Responsibility

Contractor/supplier non-discrimination standards AND Philanthropic Giving Guidelines (5)

4. Responsible citizenship (-25)
Employers will have 25 points deducted from their score for a large-scale official or public anti-LGBTQ blemish on their recent records. Scores on this criterion are based on information that has come to HRC’s attention related to topics including but not limited to: undue influence by a significant shareholder calculated to undermine a business’s employment policies or practices related to its LGBTQ employees; directing corporate charitable contributions to organizations whose primary mission includes advocacy against LGBTQ equality; opposing shareholder resolutions reasonably aimed at encouraging the adoption of inclusive workplace policies; revoking inclusive LGBTQ policies or practices; or engaging in proven practices that are contrary to the business’s written LGBTQ employment policies.

Point Allocations

Businesses are rated on a scale from 0 to 100, with a certain number of points awarded for meeting each criterion. The HRC Foundation will continue to award partial credit to employers that have satisfied a portion of certain criterion.

Key Dates

*Please note: With the global COVID-19 pandemic, HRC will continue to closely monitor the situation and its impact on our corporate participants. We will adjust the timeline for the CEI if needed.

On or before June 17th: All survey links released (full and recertification)

August 7th: Deadline for Recertification surveys

September 4th: Deadline for full surveys

Sept, Oct 2020: HRC review and validation process

Nov 2020: Survey Scores finalized, communicated to participants

Jan 2021: CEI 2021 Report Release