Number of Top Rated Businesses for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workers Jumps Despite Tough Economy

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Brad Luna 202/216.1514
Trevor Thomas 202/216.1547

Number of Top Rated Businesses for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workers Jumps Despite Tough Economy

Release of Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index begins two-week “Policy to Practice” conversation around equality in the workplace

WASHINGTON - The
number of businesses with perfect ratings based on  lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender workplace policies and benefits rose by twenty
percent in the past twelve months - despite the serious economic
downturn - according to a new report released today by the Human Rights
Campaign Foundation, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender civil rights organization. The 2010 edition of the
Corporate Equality Index, which rates 590 businesses on a scale from 0
to 100 percent, reports 305 businesses achieved top ratings, compared
to 260 last year. To view the report visit: www.HRC.org/CEI
 

Today's
release kicks-off the start of a two-week conversation around workplace
equality for the LGBT community. "Policy to Practice" is a series of
extended conversations designed to not only provide information
regarding policies and benefits among some of the country's largest
employers, but to also spur dialogue around how those policies are
implemented. In addition to today's release of the CEI 2010 that
benchmarks individual businesses, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation
will also release the "Degrees of Equality" report that aims to
understand and bridge the gap between policy and real-life experiences
of LGBT employees. At the same time, some of the country's leading
business professionals and workplace diversity and inclusion experts
will blog at www.HRCBackstory.org

"The
Corporate Equality Index 2010 shows that, even in the most challenging
economy, leading employers are forging ahead of federal and state law
to recruit and retain a diverse workforce - regardless of employees'
sexual orientation and gender identity or expression," said Human
Rights Campaign Foundation President Joe Solmonese.  "While Congress
considers a federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination based
on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, businesses can
take immediate steps to ensure all employees in their workforce are
treated fairly today. These 305 businesses, and all employers actively
working to improve their rating, set an example for all U.S. employers,
including the federal government."
 

The
305 top-rated businesses collectively employ more than 9 million
full-time employees. These workers are protected from employment
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or
expression because of their employers' policies on diversity &
inclusion, training and benefits. Federal law does not protect
employees from discrimination based on real or perceived gender
identity or sexual orientation, although many cities, counties and
states have such protections. Similarly, employer-based health
insurance benefits typically don't cover LGBT workers and their
families.  Statements from executives at businesses with 100 percent
ratings are available at www.HRC.org/CEIstatements.
 

The
Corporate Equality Index 2010 report shows impressive gains in policies
and protections across the board. In particular, transgender workers
have made major gains since the report was first published in 2002,
when just 5 percent of rated businesses prohibited discrimination based
on gender identity or expression. The Corporate Equality Index 2010
reports that figure has increased exponentially: 72 percent of rated
businesses now prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or
expression. 

Other major findings in the Corporate Equality Index 2010 include:
 

• 
Eleven of the top 20 Fortune-ranked companies received 100 percent
ratings. McKesson Corp. [NYSE: MCK] added gender identity this year to
reach 83 percent. 

•  Eighty-seven of American Lawyer magazine's 200 largest law firms received 100 percent ratings.
 

• 
More than a decade after rescinding partner benefits in 1997, Perot
Systems Corp. [NYSE: PER] reinstated partner benefits earlier this
year. Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil Corp. [NYSE: XOM] still refuses to
reinstate the policies and benefits that Mobil Corp. had implemented
prior to its acquisition by Exxon Corp. in 1999.
 

In
addition, 66 major employers - including eight of the Fortune 20 and
seventeen AmLaw 200 firms - now provide transgender-inclusive health
insurance that would cover sex-reassignment surgery and related
treatments. This component will be required, among other new
requirements, in two years for the Corporate Equality Index 2012 report.
 

"The
Corporate Equality Index has provided a roadmap for employers to
address their policies, benefits and other practices broadly since
2002," said Daryl Herrschaft, director of the HRC Foundation's
Workplace Project. "The new criteria we announced earlier this year
define even better practices. We look forward to working with employers
to implement these new best practices over the coming years." 

More information on the new criteria is available at www.hrc.org/NewCEI.
 

The Corporate Equality Index 2010 report is available at www.hrc.org/cei.
 

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The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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