LGBTQ South Florida

Nine Florida companies score perfectly in HRC’s LGBT Corporate Equality Index 2016

HRC’s Corporate Equality Index 2016.
HRC’s Corporate Equality Index 2016.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT-rights group, on Wednesday released its annual Corporate Equality Index and nine Florida companies each scored perfect 100 percent ratings.

“At Akerman, we know that a diversity of ideas and experiences are essential to our culture of collaborative innovation and our continuing efforts to deliver an exceptional experience to our people, our clients and our communities,” said Andrew Smulian, chairman and CEO of Akerman LLP in Miami said in a news release. “We are intensely focused on recruiting and retaining gifted lawyers and staff from all backgrounds and cultivating an environment that reflects the values and priorities of our firm.”

Akerman is one of the Florida companies with a perfect score. The others:

▪ Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida

▪ Carlton Fields Jorden Burt

▪ Darden Restaurants

▪ Harris Corp.

▪ Holland & Knight LLP

▪ Office Depot

▪ Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

▪ Tech Data Corp.

Other companies well known in South Florida that have perfect scores include American Airlines, Apple, Comcast NBCUniversal, Facebook, Greenberg Traurig and Marriott.

The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories, according to HRC:

▪ Nondiscrimination policies

▪ Employment benefits

▪ Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion

▪ Public commitment to LGBT equality

▪ Responsible citizenship

“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 a news 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.”

Key findings from the report, according to HRC:

▪ 407 companies earned a 100 percent in the 2015 CEI, up from 366 in the 2015 report.

▪ 511 companies participating in this year’s CEI now offer transgender workers at least one healthcare plan that has transgender-inclusive coverage. That’s a 150 percent increase since 2012, when the CEI first included trans-inclusive health care as a requisite for companies to receive a perfect score.

▪ Gender identity is now part of non-discrimination policies at 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, up from just 3 percent in 2002.

▪ More than 330 major employers have adopted supportive inclusion guidelines for transgender workers who are transitioning.

▪ 176 Fortune 500 companies were given unofficial scores based on publicly available information.

Griffin said that despite “progress and a new global commitment, 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,” he said. “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.”

According to HRC, Griffin released the CEI results Wednesday in Atlanta, joined by representatives of “leading, global American companies” including Delta Airlines, Lockheed Martin, and Newell Rubbermaid.

On Thursday, Griffin will travel to Mexico City to join with leading U.S. companies with major employee bases in Mexico including Dow, IBM and American Express.

Steve Rothaus: 305-376-3770, @SteveRothaus

Read the full report

Click here to read ‘Corporate Equality Index 2016: Rating American Workplaces on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality.’