HRC CEI Scores Tennessee Companies’ LGBTQ-Inclusive Workplace Policies

America’s leading companies and law firms are stepping up in record numbers to adopt increasingly forward-looking policies and practices to meet the needs of their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workers in the U.S. and abroad, according to the 2020 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) released today by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.

In the most rigorous assessment of LGBTQ-inclusive workplace policies and practices to date, a record of more than 680 companies have been designated a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by the HRC Foundation for their efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria results, earning them a 100 percent rating. Top-scoring companies include seven in Tennessee.

In total, 1059 companies and law firms were officially rated in the new CEI, up from 1028 in last year’s survey. The report also unofficially rated 122 Fortune 500 companies, which have yet to respond to an invitation to participate in the CEI survey assessing their LGBTQ policies and practices. The average score for companies and law firms based in Tennessee is 70 percent. Of the 25 companies ranked, seven earned 100 points, 13 earned 90 points and above, and 15 earned 80 points and above.

For the first time, HRC this year is giving special recognition to the 11 companies that earned top marks on all three of HRC’s workplace equality assessments: the CEI, as well as Equidad MX and Equidad CL. HRC’s groundbreaking Equidad program recognizes Latin American companies and U.S. multinational companies for their work in Mexico and Chile.

“These companies know that protecting their LGBTQ employees and customers from discrimination is not just the right thing to do—it is also the best business decision. In addition, many of these leaders are also advocating for the LGBTQ community and equality under the law in the public square,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “From supporting LGBTQ civil rights protections in the U.S. through HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act, to featuring transgender and non-binary people in an ad in Argentina, to advocating for marriage equality in Taiwan—businesses understand their LGBTQ employees and customers deserve to be seen, valued and respected not only at work, but in every aspect of daily life.”

More than 260 top businesses—including 191 that earned top scores on the CEI—are also corporate supporters on the Equality Act, critically important bipartisan legislation that would finally add clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people to our nation's civil rights laws. While the Supreme Court decides whether LGBTQ people are protected by federal employment non-discrimination law, these companies are holding the line for their employees and their families.

Other key findings revealed in the 2020 CEI:

•The more than 680 companies who earned a 100 on the CEI represent 12.4 million employees nationally, 11.9 million globally and earn a combined estimate of $12.9 trillion in revenue.

•Eighty-three companies participated in the CEI for the first time in 2020 with 36 debuting at a score of 100 -- including Etsy Inc., Peloton Interactive Inc. and Stop & Shop, and Warner Music Group.

•Of all Fortune 500 companies, 93% have sexual orientaiton in their U.S. non-discrimination policy, and 91% have gender identity.

•The average CEI score for all Fortune 500 companies increased from 67 to 71 in the past year -- with actively participating Fortune 500 companies having an average score of 90, up from 88 last year.

Over the last several years, CEI-rated companies have dramatically expanded their support for transgender workers. This year 89% percent of companies participating in the CEI offer at least one health care policy that is inclusive of their transgender workers, and 85% percent met stringent criteria that requires all blanket exclusions of medically-necessary care for transgender workers be removed from all health policies the company offers -- up from 73% last year.

The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria in four broad categories:

•Non-discrimination policies

•Employment benefits

•Supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility including public commitment to LGBTQ equality

•Responsible citizenship

The full report is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.

Photo courtesy of Jose Cuervo

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