The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization released the equality scores of Connecticut companies in the 2016 Corporate Equity Index, revealing that Corporate America has led the way in LGBT inclusion for more than a decade.
According to an HRC press release, the CPI is an annual report assessing LGBT inclusion in major companies and law firms across the country, including 15 in Connecticut. The 2016 CEI found that a record 407 businesses earned a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
Rena Peng, HRC Workplace Equality Program Coordinator, said that the CEI ratings are based on a 0 to 100 point system, where the higher scoring companies have more inclusive policies and benefits in place than their lower scoring counterparts.
“This year’s 2016 CEI report saw a record of 100% scoring businesses – 407 compared to last year’s 366,” Peng said. “We also saw a significant rise in businesses offering transgender inclusive healthcare coverage, 511 or 60% of CEI-rated businesses, up from 0 in 2002 to 49 in the 2009 CEI to 278 in the 2013 CEI and 418 in 2015.”
The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories including non-discrimination policies, employment benefits, demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion, public commitment to LGBT equality and responsible citizenship.
Peng also said that Connecticut had one of the highest average ratings out of all of the states that had CEI-rated businesses. New York and California usually tend to be the states with the highest amount of 100 percent businesses, as they also have the largest number of participating businesses.
The record number of perfect scores was achieved this year despite demanding new criteria requiring that companies with global operations extend non-discrimination protections for their LGBT workers worldwide, according to the press release. Of the 15 companies ranked in Connecticut, nine earned 100 percent and three earned 90 percent or above.
"Corporate America has long been a leader on LGBT equality, from advocating for marriage equality to expanding essential benefits to transgender employees," HRC President Chad Griffin said in the press release. "But this year, many leading U.S. companies have broken new ground by expanding explicit non-discrimination protections to their LGBT workers around the globe. They've shown the world that LGBT equality isn't an issue that stops at our own borders, but extends internationally."
Griffin said that despite this process, there is much work left to be done in places and in companies where LGBT workers still face significant obstacles.
"While support for LGBT workers is growing in the U.S. and around the world, too many companies still fail to guarantee basic, vital workplace protections that allow employees to bring their full selves to work," Griffin said in the press release. "That continues to create barriers for LGBT people, especially for transgender people, who face high rates of unemployment and discrimination in hiring. These companies should look to the example set by global corporate leaders as a path forward to achieving LGBT equality for all workers, no matter where they live."
Maggie McEvilly is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.