Corporate Equality Index shows 20 percent increase in LGBT policies nationwide

The number of businesses with perfect ratings based on LGBT 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.

Tennessee-based companies' scores ranged from Cracker Barrel's low 15 to Unum Group's 88. Compared to last year's scores in Tennessee, four companies' scores remained the same, one score dropped 5 points and two scores rose. (See scores below.)

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. View the full report at

In addition to 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

“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.

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.

Scores for Tennessee-based companies ranged from 15 to 88 out of a possible 100 points.

  • Scored 15 - Cracker Barrel (Lebanon, TN): NO gender identity policy and NO domestic partner benefits (No score in 2009)
  • Scored 25 - AutoZone (Memphis, TN): NO gender identity policy and NO domestic partner benefits. (No change from 2009)
  • Scored 50 - Nissan  (Franklin, TN): NO gender identity policy (No change from 2009)
  • Scored 65 - International Paper (Memphis, TN): NO gender identity policy (Down from 70 in 2009)
  • Scored 70 - Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC (Memphis, TN): NO gender identity policy (Up from 35 in 2009)
  • Scored 70 - FedEx (Memphis, TN): NO domestic partner benefits (Up from 55 in 2009)
  • Scored 80 - Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. (Nashville, TN): NO domestic partner benefits (No change from 2009)
  • Scored 88 - Unum Group (Chattanooga, TN): Limited internal support for LGBT employees (No change from 2009)
  • First Horizon (First Tennessee) did not participate in the survey. (No previous score listed)

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

The Corporate Equality Index 2010 report is available at

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