December 8, 2011, San Francisco, CA—“Being able to describe in clear and measurable terms what equality looks like is so important in helping companies achieve it,” said Selisse Berry, the executive director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. “We are delighted to see the progress measured by the Corporate Equality Index, as more and more companies offer equal and fair benefits to their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.”
This year’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) states more concretely than ever before what companies need to do to truly be considered leaders in LGBT workplace equality. More than three-quarters of the criteria are new or expanded this year, including requiring companies to offer full health care coverage for their transgender employees if they were to achieve a perfect score. The CEI rates 850 businesses, which includes the entire Fortune 500.
Kevin Jones, Deputy Director of Out & Equal commented, “The positive scores of these companies are the direct results of the advocacy that is being done by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and our straight allies. They have ensured that corporate policies include sexual orientation and gender identity, that benefits are given equally to all employees, and that the health needs of transgender people are absolutely vital. We applaud all of the corporations and their employees who have worked so hard to achieve these goals.”
The CEI is now in its tenth year and provides valuable data, tracking the strong progress that businesses have made. Berry went on to note, “Corporations are leading the way in the movement for workplace equality. Business leaders know that diversity and fairness lead to the best and most productive working environments. That, in turn, benefits their bottom lines.”
The results of a November 2011 HRC/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll showed that 87% of the public believes that federal law already offers protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation. This parallels the Harris Interactive/Out & Equal’s survey results from September of this year which found that 76% of respondents felt that it was already illegal to fire someone for being LGBT. Yet, that is not the case, with no federal law barring workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.