This week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced a record number of the nation’s major companies and law firms are advancing vital policies and practices to protect LGBTQ workers around the world, according to the 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual report assessing LGBTQ inclusion in major companies and law firms across the nation, including four in South Carolina.
This year, a record-breaking 609 businesses earned the CEI’s top score of 100, up from 517 last year — a single-year increase of 18 percent. This record sets a new high water mark for corporate leadership over the 15-year history of the CEI.
In total, 947 companies and law firms were officially rated in the new CEI, up from 887 in last year’s. The report also unofficially rated 137 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 South Carolina is 85 percent. Of the four companies ranked, one earned 100 points and three earned 80 points and above.
“At a time when the rights of LGBTQ people are under attack by the Trump-Pence Administration and state legislatures across the country, hundreds of top American companies are driving progress toward equality in the workplace,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The top-scoring companies on this year’s CEI are not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the United States, they are applying these policies to their operations around the globe and impacting millions of people beyond our shores. In addition, many of these companies have also become vocal advocates for equality in the public square, including the dozens that have signed on to amicus briefs in vital Supreme Court cases and the 106 corporate supporters of the Equality Act. We are proud to have developed so many strong partnerships with corporate allies who see LGBTQ equality as a crucial issue for our country and for their businesses.”
Key national findings revealed in the 2018 CEI:
- 609 companies earned a perfect 100 points, up from 517 in the 2017 report;
- Gender identity is now part of non-discrimination policies at 83 percent of Fortune 500 companies, up from just 3 percent in 2002;
- 459 major employers have adopted supportive inclusion guidelines for transgender workers who are transitioning;
- 137 Fortune 500 companies were given unofficial scores based on publicly available information.
The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories:
- Non-discrimination policies
- Employment benefits
- Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBTQ diversity and inclusion
- Public commitment to LGBTQ equality
- Responsible citizenship
The full report, including a searchable employer database is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.