Employees in today’s workforce don’t face nearly as much discrimination as they did a generation ago. Still, there are still those who face discrimination because of their gender, age, race, and sexual orientation. But some companies strive to be better at honoring diversity and acknowledging employee differences, including extra provisions for the LGBT community.
The Human Rights Campaign recently released its 2016 Corporate Equality Index, which acknowledges the most LGBT-friendly companies in the United States. The CEI was launched in 2002 and is the nationally recognized benchmarking report for business to gauge their level of LGBT workplace inclusion against their competitors.
The CEI includes the largest and most successful employers in America, including Apple, General Motors, and Chevron. They are identified through Fortune magazine’s 1,000 largest publicly traded business and American Lawyer magazine’s top 200 revenue-grossing law firms. The list also includes any private-sector, for-profit employer with at least 500 full-time U.S. employees, as long as they request to participate.
Businesses that receive a 100 percent rating are recognized as “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.” In order to receive the highest ranking in the CEI, companies on the list must:
- Have sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination protections explicitly stated in all of its operations in the United States and abroad,
- Require U.S. contractors to abide by the company’s inclusive non-discrimination policy, and
- Implement internal requirements prohibiting U.S. company/law firm philanthropic giving to nonreligious organizations that have a written policy of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
These companies must offer equal opportunity employment for all operations, including contractor or vendor standards, and must offer equivalent spousal and partner benefits. These companies also must have transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage and offer competency training, resources, or accountability measures when it comes to the LGBT workforce.
The 11 companies on this list received a 100 percent rating on the Corporate Equality Index and are considered the 11 most LGBT-friendly companies in America.
#1 – Chevron Corp.
Chevron Corp. is one of two oil and gas companies to receive a perfect score on the CEI and is the largest ranked corporation to receive a 100 percent, according to Forbes. The company has achieved a perfect score for 11 consecutive years. Last year, vice president of Human Resources and Corporate Services Joe Laymon stated, “As part of The Chevron Way, diversity is one of our core values. We operate in one of the most competitive industries in the world, and having a diverse, talented workforce is key to the ongoing success of our business.”
#2 – Apple Inc.
Apple Inc. is another company on this list that has retained a perfect score on the CEI for several years. The company is ranked 5th on the Fortune 1000. The result isn’t surprising since Apple and its CEO Tim Cook have long been advocates for LGBT equality. Last summer, the company backed a sweeping legislation that would outlaw LGBT discrimination under federal law. Along with Apple, the act is supported by Facebook, General Mills, Google, and Nike.
#3 – General Motors Co.
According to a press release by General Motors, the company has a long history of supporting a fully inclusive work environment. When the 2016 CEI was announced, GM Chief Diversity Officer Ken Barrett commented, “Although we’re always pleased to receive recognition for our efforts, it is even more encouraging to see that we are part of a growing group of leading employers earning consecutive perfect scores.
GM is the first and so far only automaker to support a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. It was also the first automaker to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).
#4 – Ford Motor Co.
Ford Motor Company works through the Ford Foundation to combat inequality and also promotes a diversity policy in its workplace that earned the automaker a 100 percent score on the CEI. President and CEO Mark Fields explained, “We believe that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success. They are a part of our commitment to Go Further by working together as one team, leveraging skills across the globe, valuing, including, and respecting each other and, in doing so, achieving profitable growth for all.”
#5 – General Electric Co.
General Electric Co. has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination in the workplace and in the world. Recently, the company publicly opposed North Carolina’s law requiring transgendered citizens to use public restrooms according to the listed sex on their birth certificates. The company also signed an open letter to Mississippi lawmakers urging them to repeal the “Religious Liberty Accommodations Act and also joined the Freedom Massachusetts Business Coalition. GE formed the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Ally (GLBTA) Alliance in 2005. The alliance invests in cultivating leaders at the company and is dedicated to growing GLBT talent around the world.
#6 – AT&T Inc.
AT&T Inc. was one of the first Fortune 500 companies to adopt a non-discrimination policy regarding sexual orientation. It was also one of the first companies to adopt domestic partner benefits for its LGBT employees. Considering its history, it isn’t surprising to see the technology company receive a perfect score on the CEI for 2016. AT&T is one of 12 founding members of a global coalition created by the Human Rights Campaign. The coalition is committed to advancing LGBT workplace equality in the United States and around the world.
#7 – CVS Health Corp.
CVS Health Corp. received a perfect score on the CEI for the second year in a row. The company offers benefits that include support for 11 national Colleague Resource Groups, including PRIDE, an inclusive benefits package that includes health care services for transgender people, and more. CVS EVP and Human Resources Officer stated, “We pride ourselves on embracing and celebrating the rich diversity of our colleagues, customers, and suppliers.”
#8 – Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)
Fannie Mae focuses on having a diverse workforce because the company believes it is a critical component to success. Vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer Tujuanna Williams stated, “At Fannie Mae, we know diversity and inclusion is not an obligation, it’s an opportunity.” The financial services company believes that a diverse and inclusive workforce allows it to better serve America’s diverse housing market.
#9 – McKesson Corp.
McKesson Corp. received a perfect score on the CEI for the third year in a row because of its constant changes toward a more inclusive workforce and better benefits for LGBT people. Chairman and CEO John Hammergren stated, “McKesson’s culture is defined by our shared principles which are anchored by respect and integrity. We are proud of being recognized by the HRC … as it demonstrates our commitment to providing a healthy and positive environment for all of our employees, including our LGBT colleagues.”
#10 – Hewlett-Packard Co.
Hewlett-Packard pledges to treat every employee equal regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. The technology company requires its employees to hold themselves to the same standards. They have a zero-tolerance discrimination policy with a 24-hour reporting hotline. Their goals include recruiting diverse people, building an inclusive work environment, and reinforcing positive attitudes toward diversity.
#11 – JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has received a perfect score on the CEI every year since the index began. HRC Foundation Workplace Equality Program Director Deena Fidas noted that the company “goes above and beyond the call of duty” when it comes to LGBT rights and inclusion. JPMorgan Chase is the only financial services company in the Index to score 100 percent every year. Asset Management CEO Callahan Erodes commented, “This honor recognizes JPMorgan Chase’s longstanding support of the LGBT community. By fostering a diverse and inclusive environment in our firm, we can approach challenges and opportunities with myriad viewpoints, enabling us to best serve our global client base.”