HRC releases its Corporate Equality Index

Yesterday, the HRC released its annual corporate report card, the Corporate Equality Index, ranking the nation's top places for the LGBT community to work.

Compared to the 13 companies who received perfect scores in 2002, a record-setting 304 corporations earned perfect scores in the 2014 index, including Tennessee-based Nissan. And for the first time in the history of the HRC CEI, more than 60% of Fortune 500 companies include both sexual identity and gender identity protections. See the full report here.

"This will go down in history as the year that corporate support for equality left the boardroom and reached each and every corner of this country," said HRC president Chad Griffin in a letter accompanying the report. "Not only do fair-minded companies guarantee fair treatment to millions of LGBT employees in all 50 states, but now those same companies are fighting for full legal equality in state legislatures, in the halls of Congress, and before the U.S. Supreme Court."

The criteria for the CEI has evolved since 2002 and currently companies must demonstrate their commitment to the LGBT community across four main criteria: Equal employment opportunity policy including sexual orientation (15 points) and gender identity or expression (15 points); Employment benefits including equivalent spousal and partner benefits (15 points), other soft benefits such as bereavement leave (10 points) and transgender-inclusive health insurance (10 points); Organizational LGBT competency including LGBT diversity groups or council (10 points) and competency training resources and accountability measures (10 points) and finally a public commitment to LGBT specific efforts (15 points). A business may also be deducted 25 points for any known activity to undermine LGBT equality. 

Additionally, the HRC Foundation also announced new criteria requirements in place for the 2016 CEI. All of the changes stem from one guiding principle: that discrimination has no place in a top-rated CEI business. For a 100% in the 2016 Corporate Equality Index report, businesses must:

  • Have sexual orientation and gender identity non- discrimination protections explicitly included in all of its operations, both within the US and global operations.
  • Require U.S. contractors to abide by companies’ existing inclusive non- discrimination policy.
  • Implement internal requirements prohibiting company/ law firm philanthropic giving to non-religious organizations that have a written policy of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/ or gender identity. 

So how did Tennessee companies rank?

AutoZone, headquartered in Memphis, TN: 30 (15 points for equal employment opportunity policies that cover sexual orientation and gender identity/expression).

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, law firm Memphis TN: 85 (half-credit on 'soft' benefits and no trans-inclusive health insurance coverage).

Bridgestone, headquartered in Nashville, TN: 70 (offers no partner health/medical benefits, half-credit on 'soft benefits, and no trans-inclusive health insurance coverage).

Community Health Systems, headquartered in Franklin, TN: 30 (15 points for equal employment opportunity policies that cover sexual orientation and gender identity/expression).

Cracker Barrel, headquartered in Lebanon, TN: 45 (no gender identity/expression discrimination policy, no partner health/medical benefits, half-credit on 'soft' benefits, no trans-inclusive health insurance coverage, no firm-wide competency programs).

Dollar General, headquartered in Goodlettsville, TN: 70 (offers no partner health/medical benefits, half-credit on 'soft benefits, and no trans-inclusive health insurance coverage). Dollar General rises from a 45 last year to a 70 this year.

Eastman Chemical, headquartered in Kingston, TN: 15 (only provides discrimination protection based upon sexual orientation).

FedEx, headquartered in Memphis, TN: 85 (half-credit on 'soft' benefits, and no trans-inclusive health insurance coverage).

First Horizon National Corp., headquartered in Memphis, TN: 70 (offers no partner health/medical benefits, half- credit on 'soft benefits, and no trans-inclusive health insurance coverage).

HCA, headquartered in Nashville, TN: 30 (only offers employment protections based upon sexual orientation and gender identity/expression).

International Paper, headquartered in Memphis, TN: 45 (no gender identity/expression protections, half-credit on 'soft' benefits, no trans-inclusive health insurance coverage, no firm-wide competency programs and no public LGBT outreach).

Nissan, headquartered in Franklin, TN: 100 (up from a 75 last year).

Regal Entertainment Group, headquartered in Knoxville, TN: 35 (no gender identity/expression protections, half-credit on 'soft' benefits, no trans-inclusive health insurance coverage, no company LGBT groups/councils and half-credit for public LGBT outreach).

Unum, headquartered in Chattanooga, TN: 60 (half-credit on 'soft' benefits, company LGBT groups/councils, LGBT public outreach and no trans-inclusive health insurance coverage and no firm-wide competency programs).

Vanguard Health Systems, headquartered in Nashville, TN: 15 (only sexual orientation employment discrimination policy).


Any surprises? Leave your comments below.

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