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HRC Announces 2016 Corporate Equality Index

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In December, the Human Rights Campaign released its 2017 Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey of U.S. companies regarding their LGBT-related policies, such as nondiscrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, supplier diversity and engagement with the LGBT community.

In this, the 15th edition of the Corporate Equality Index, a record 517 employers achieved a perfect 100 percent score. A record 327 of the Fortune 500-ranked businesses have official CEI ratings based on submitted surveys (as compared to 321 last year), with an average rating of 91 compared to 87 last year. A total of 199 of the Fortune 500-ranked businesses achieved a 100 percent rating (compared to 151 last year), with 12 of the top 20 Fortune-ranked businesses at this top score. Ninety-two percent of the Fortune 500 include “sexual orientation” in their non-discrimination policies and 82 percent include “gender identity.”

The most significant progress in the CEI has been the wide-scale adoption of transgender inclusive initiatives across businesses. This year saw the CEI’s largest jump ever in businesses offering transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage — from 511 last year to 647 this year.

  • 82 percent of the Fortune 500 have gender identity protections enumerated in their non-discrimination policies and 96 percent of the entire CEI universe of businesses offer explicit gender identity non-discrimination protections in the U.S.
  • 50 percent of the Fortune 500 and nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of the CEI universe of businesses offer transgender-inclusive health care coverage, up from 0 in 2002 and over six times as many businesses as five years ago.
  • 136 new employers offer transgender-inclusive health care coverage in the 2017 report.
  • A majority of CEI-rated businesses (86 percent) offer education and training programs that specifically include definitions and/ or scenarios on gender identity in the workplace.
  • Nearly four-hundred (387) major businesses have adopted gender transition guidelines for employees and their teams to establish best practices.

Reflecting the changing landscape of legal protections for LGBT employees and their families emerging best practices to meet the needs of LGBT employees and ensure that LGBT employees are treated fairly in the workplace, the HRC announced two significant changes for CEI 2019 (calendar year 2018).

Employers must offer both same and opposite-sex partner benefits – in addition to marriage benefits – for a 100% in the 2019 Corporate Equality Index.

Participants with a supplier diversity program must include LGBT suppliers in their outreach efforts to maintain full credit in this section. Participants with a supplier diversity program that does not include LGBT diversity will lose 5 points under Public Engagement. Participants need not be NGLCC partners, but must have outreach to LGBT-owned businesses if seeking credit in this category.

The HRC Foundation Corporate Equality Index criteria serve as a road map for major U.S. businesses’ adoption of inclusive policies, practices and benefits for LGBT employees. Launched in 2002, the CEI is the nationally recognized benchmarking report for businesses to gauge their level of LGBT workplace inclusion against competitors.

Download the full report here.

Business Equality Pride (BEQPride) is the first publication from the BEQ family of national print and digital magazines exclusively addressing the needs of LGBTQ small-to-medium sized businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals.