Corporate Equality Index Recertification FAQ

Filed under: Workplace

Updated: 06/05/2020

In June of 2020, the HRC Foundation announced a new recertification process for returning Corporate Equality Index (CEI) rated companies meeting defined eligibility requirements. Please see below for answers to frequently asked questions about the CEI recertification process. 

What is the CEI recertification process?

The CEI recertification process involves the completion of a more streamlined version of the CEI survey, including an attestation to the continuation of existing policies, practices, and benefits. The purpose is to facilitate more efficient completion of the survey for companies with consistent year over year high scores. 

What companies qualify for the recertification process? 

Companies are eligible for the recertification process if BOTH of the following conditions are met: 

  • The company has completed and returned the survey for the most recent past three years. E.g., for the 2021 survey, a company must have completed the 2018, 2019 and 2020 surveys.
  • The company earned a final score of 100 for at least the most recent past three years. E.g. for the 2021 survey, a company must have scored 100 for survey years 2018, 2019 and 2020. 

My company has a score of 100 for the last two years and the criteria has not changed, why don’t we qualify?

Congratulations on your two year CEI 100 track record! 

In order to maintain the rigor of the CEI, we are maintaining a requirement of a CEI 100 score on a minimum of the most recent past three years to qualify for recertification. We look forward to providing you with the recertification option next year after you score 100 this year! 

What level of person should sign off on the recertification survey form? 

The CEI survey signer should be someone with the proper authorization to respond for the company. They will attest to the fact that the associated policies, practices, and benefits have not changed. The exact role may vary by company but, generally speaking, this is a senior level executive. 

We are attesting that our policies, practices, and benefits haven’t changed. Can we get a copy of our information on file? 

If you need a copy of information we have on file for any of your previous submissions, please email cei@hrc.org and a member of our team can assist you. 

Does this mean we will not have to provide any supporting documentation?

The recertification process requires less documentation than the original survey, yet some documentation will still be necessary. 

Additionally, the HRC Foundation reserves the right to request additional documentation at any time during the review process or to support a current published score.  The foremost goal of the CEI is to provide accurate and timely information about American employers and their policies related to the LGBTQ community. Auditing scores and supporting documentation ensures we remain true to this goal and the standards of the CEI. 

What information will still need to be provided? 

Criteria 3c of the CEI measures annual efforts to engage with the greater LGBTQ community through marketing and advertising, philanthropy and volunteerism, recruiting activities, supplier diversity programs and support for LGBTQ public policy initiatives. To earn credit in this section, an employer must provide 3 distinct examples of external engagement over the last 12 months since the prior year survey. 

As this section is measuring unique efforts year-to-year, it must be completed in full for credit. 

What controls does HRC have to ensure rigor of the data? 

The HRC Foundation regularly reviews its data and performs spot audits with companies. With the launch of the recertification process, we will continue to perform spot audits to ensure recertified companies meet or exceed CEI standards. 

I work at a company that has submitted a CEI survey and I think the score is incorrect. What can I do?

Our top priority is maintaining the integrity of the CEI. Our main goal is to provide accurate and timely information about American employers and their policies, practices and benefits related to the LGBTQ community.

If you have a concern about a CEI company’s score, please reach out to us at cei@hrc.org.

HRC has mentioned it may spot-check or audit recertification participants. What does this entail? Will you ask for information beyond the scope of the original CEI?

Spot audits will be performed on randomized samples of companies or if information has come to the attention of the HRC Foundation that calls the current score into question. A spot audit and review based on the current criteria will not exceed the scope of the original CEI, information, and documentation previously requested and provided to the HRC Foundation. 

In the past, HRC has made changes to the CEI criteria. How will scoring or criteria changes affect this process?

The Corporate Equality Index serves as a road map to corporate diversity leaders to help them stay on top of the evolving field of policies and practices for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer workers. The HRC Foundation is committed to staying ahead of the curve on LGBTQ diversity initiatives by incrementally raising the bar on the criteria that are factored into the Index and providing the tools for employers to meet them.

In years where there is a criteria change, the CEI recertification survey will incorporate questions to gather the new information and supporting documentation. Depending on the scope or depth of the changes, this may require updating information across an entire section of the survey criteria. E.g., changes to the criteria for transgender beneifts could require completing the entire section on transgender benefits rather than just a portion. 

Please note: There are no criteria changes on the 2021 Corporate Equality Index nor has the HRC Foundation announced any criteria changes for the future at this time. Any revisions to the CEI criteria are announced at least 1 to 2 years before being added to the survey to allow organization time to achieve the new criteria.

Will companies that qualify for recertification ever have to complete the survey in full? If so, when?

In order to maintain the integrity of the CEI, participants will need to fill out a complete survey at least once every three years. Beginning with next year's survey (2022), one-third of the inaugural recertification companies will be chosen at random to complete the survey in full with the remainder of the inaugural group surveyed over the following two years. Participants qualifying for recertification will complete a full survey every three years thereafter.