The 2016 Corporate Equality Index, published online on Wednesday, November 18, has revealed the most gay-friendly companies in the United States, as well as other trends related to discrimination at the workplace.
The study, spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign has been carried out ever since 2002, in order to assess which businesses are the most accepting and tolerant towards the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) community.
Officially, 851 companies have been evaluated, and unofficially 176 Fortune 500 businesses were also ranked, based on their preoccupation with supporting the LGBT cause and on their commitment to providing transgender-inclusive health care, as well as domestic partner benefits for their employees.
Another indicator included in the report was whether they had introduced and implemented a code of conduct or a series of policies in order to vehemently forbid all instances of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
In total, around 407 companies managed to meet all expectations, and achieved a full 100% score based on these criteria, being therefore deemed among the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality”. This shows some progress in comparison with last year, when 366 major employers in the United States were presented with this title.
Some of the tech businesses which scored the highest points were Accenture , Adobe, AT&T, Apple, Dell, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Sony, T-Mobile, Twitter, Uber, Xerox, and Yahoo.
Also topping the list were other famous companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Walt Disney, Avon, Dow Chemical, IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, Macy’s, Shell, Chevron, Bank of America, Whirlpool, General Electric and Ford Motor.
On the other hand, little progress in the advancement of LGBT rights was identified at businesses such as: Rolls-Royce (60 points), Hawaiian Airlines (65), Fossil (60), Honda (50), Goodyear (10), TRW (10), Acer (25), McAfee (20), iHeartMedia (55), Dr Pepper (60), Mayo Clinic (65), Exxon Mobil (40), Kohl’s (60) and RadioShack (40).
Despite the fact that such companies are still trailing behind when it comes to being LGBT-inclusive, overall some positive trends have been identified, which is remarkable especially since evaluation criteria are much stricter now.
For instance, international companies have been assessed not only based on how they conduct domestic operations, but also on how gay-friendly they are in their off-shore subsidiaries.
A total of 511 businesses surveyed this year by HRC now provide health plans that cover transgender individuals, an increase of 150% since 2012 when this indicator was first introduced in the assessment. In addition, support for those who are transitioning is being offered by over 330 firms surveyed by researchers.
Moreover, discrimination based on gender identity is now strictly prohibited in around three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies, the percentage having risen by 3% since 2002.
Nevertheless, according to Chad Griffin, HRC President, it’s still imperative to continue the mission for LGBT equality among workers, in order to ensure employee protection and benefits worldwide, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.
While in theory some companies might have incredibly thorough and complex nondiscrimination policies, what happens in real life might be an entirely different story altogether. Some local governments make it impossible for certain companies to actually implement their LGBT-inclusive procedures.
For example, Chevron and Shell, who both received perfect scores, conduct operations in Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by flogging, and in Nigeria where same-sex sexual activity is illegal, and the most severe penalty for this supposed crime is death by stoning.
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