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BIZNETDAILY

'Gay-friendly' companies up 41%

Marriott, Macy's, Mastercard, Yahoo! join annual list

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Macy’s, sponsor of the Thanksgiving parade in New York City, joins a leading homosexual-rights group’s annual list of firms scoring a perfect 100

As the House prepares to vote on a bill banning discrimination against homosexuals, another 57 corporations have been added to an annual list of the nation’s “gay-friendly” major businesses, an increase of 41 percent over last year.

For the sixth year, Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual-rights group, released its Corporate Equality Index of businesses earning a perfect score of 100.

The score is based on employers’ treatment of “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender” employees. It measures factors such as non-discrimination policies, diversity training and benefits for domestic partners and transgender employees.

An unprecedented 195 major corporations received a perfect score, compared to just 13 companies when the index began in 2002. Also, for the first time, a majority of rated firms – 58 percent – provide employment protections on the basis of “gender identity.”

“More businesses than ever before have recognized the value of a diverse and dedicated workforce,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “More importantly, these employers understand that discrimination against GLBT workers will ultimately hurt their ability to compete in the global marketplace.”

Among the companies new to the list this year are Allstate Insurance, Marriott International, Macy’s, Mastercard, Yahoo! and Waste Management Inc.

Meanwhile, Rep. Barney Frank predicts the House will soon approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal for employers to make decisions about hiring, firing, promoting or paying an employee based on “sexual orientation or gender identity.” The bill, which would exempt churches and the military, likely will face a tougher fight in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster or presidential veto.

Solmonese maintained the elements of the bill already have been “overwhelmingly embraced” by U.S. employers.

“It’s the right thing to do for our economy and for our country,” he said.

HRC noted at least 282 U.S. cities and towns, along with 19 states, have added workplace protections against discrimination based on “sexual orientation” in both public and private sector jobs.

In addition, more than 93 local jurisdictions and 11 states have laws that include protections based on “gender identity.”

The Corporate Equality Index this year rated 519 businesses.

One of the newcomers to the list of companies scoring a perfect 100, Yahoo!, declared its pride at being part of a “pioneering group that has stepped up to create a more inclusive work environment for today’s diverse employee groups.”

Cammie Dunaway, chief marketing officer and executive sponsor of the LGBT employee group at Yahoo!, also said the company values its “tens of millions of LGBT consumers around the world and are always looking for ways to further connect them to the information, passions, and communities that matter most to them, on our Yahoo! LGBT Pride site and across our network.”

Leading the way on HRC’s list is the banking and financial services industry, with 32 companies scoring 100 percent. This year, there are 30 law firms with the top rating, up from 12 last year.

Among mail and freight delivery companies, United Parcel Service scored 100 while FedEx received a 55, because it does not provide benefits for domestic partners company-wide, including to married same-sex couples in Massachusetts.

In the transportation and travel services industry, Travelport – known for its popular site Orbitz.com – is the first to receive a perfect score.

Other companies receiving a perfect score weighed in.

Sprint Nextel’s senior vice president of Human Resources, Sandy Price, said her company is “working hard to create an inclusive workplace that ensures all voices and points of view are valued and respected.”

Hayward Bell, chief diversity officer for Raytheon Co., said his company’s perfect score “reflects the strides that our company has made to build a culture that recognizes, respects and leverages individual and cultural differences. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is our undeniable pathway to success for individuals and the company – for everyone, every day and everywhere.”

General Motors’ vice president for corporate responsibility and diversity, Rod Gillum, said the automaker’s perfect Corporate Equality Index score is “our way of showing GLBT customers that we support the community and appreciate their business.”

Brian Schipper, senior vice president for Human Resources at Cisco Systems Inc., said his company appreciates “the work of the HRC for continuing to provide this important benchmark of corporate policies and practices.”

See this year’s list of 195 corporations earning a perfect 100 from Human Rights Campaign.



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