- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation released its 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which included an extensive list of the best places to work in the U.S. for LGBTQ equality. HRC said 571 companies earned the top score of 100 on its index, which rated medium to large businesses on four criteria: 1) non-discrimination policies; 2) employment benefits; 3) supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility including public commitment to LGBTQ equality; and 4) responsible citizenship.
- Among the CEI's findings, 16.8 million U.S. employees have a corporate non-discrimination policy protecting them from sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination. In 85% of Fortune 500 companies, gender identity is part of non-discrimination policies, a 3% increase since 2002. More than 500 major employers have inclusion guidelines for transitioning transgender workers.
- More than 170 businesses, including 110 with top CEI scores, have joined HRC's Business Coalition for the Equality Act, which would create protections for LGBTQ workers to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a December letter to Congress, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recommended that lawmakers pass legislation to protect LGBTQ people in the workplace. The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked more than once to decide whether Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in addition to sex. Lower courts have ruled for and against granting them protection under sex discrimination law, but, so far, the high court has taken no action. It's worth noting that a split among agencies on this issue exists, too; the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission affirms that Title VII prohibits such discrimination, while the Department of Justice holds the opposite.
There are companies — like those ranking high on the CEI — that aren't waiting for the courts to give them a clear answer on Title VII. Instead, these employers have taken definitive steps to extend their anti-discrimination policies to protect LGBTQ workers. They have also focused on creating inclusive work environments that include same-sex benefits and transgender healthcare coverage.