- A record 686 American companies and law firms earned a 100 on the 2020 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), announced by Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 21. The companies represent "12.4 million employees nationally, 11.9 million globally and earn a combined estimate of $12.9 trillion in revenue," according to the index, which provides the designation of Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.
- Eighty-three companies participated in the CEI for the first time in 2020, and 36 debuted at a score of 100, including Warner Music Group, Seacoast National Bank and Etsy Inc. HRC recognized 11 companies that earned top marks on all three workplace equality assessments: the CEI, Equidad MX and Equidad CL. The Equidad program recognizes Latin American companies and U.S. multinational companies for their work in Mexico and Chile.
- The report stated that 94% of CEI-rated employers have an employee resource group or diversity council that includes LGBTQ and allied employees and programming. And 85% of the 2020 rated businesses provide affirmative transgender-inclusive health care benefits. "The most significant progress in the CEI has been the wide-scale adoption of transgender-inclusive initiatives across businesses,"according to the report.
Though there have been improvements in D&I initiatives supporting LGBTQ employees, there's still more work to do, according to research.
A 2019 poll of more than 2,000 workers from Bospar PR found that 60% of Americans are comfortable working with LGBTQ people and 68% of Americans think LGBTQ equality is improving. However, nearly a third of Americans surveyed said they have been harassed at work due to their sexuality.
Curtis Sparrer, principal at Bospar PR, suggested that companies create LGBTQ advisory boards to facilitate continual dialogue with management. He also stated that employers foster positivity when they support LGBTQ activities and initiatives.
HRC reported that more than 260 businesses on the CEI are also corporate sponsors on the Equality Act. In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan legislation, which amends Title VII, among other laws, guaranteeing protections for LGBTQ people under the nation's existing civil rights laws. The Senate has not yet voted on the Equality Act.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court presided over three cases in October 2019 that will decide if people can be fired for being LGBTQ. The Court has not made its ruling. But prior to the hearings, in August 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in an amicus brief for one of the cases, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc., v. EEOC, et al. No. 18-107, stating that transgender persons are not protected from discrimination at work on the basis of their transgender status under federal law. The brief was not signed by Sharon Fast Gustafson, General Counsel for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Notably, the EEOC interprets Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which protects workers from discrimination based on sex, race, religion and other protected categories — as including discrimination against LGBTQ employees.
"From supporting LGBTQ civil rights protections in the U.S. through HRC's Business Coalition for the Equality Act, to featuring transgender and non-binary people in an ad in Argentina, to advocating for marriage equality in Taiwan — businesses understand their LGBTQ employees and customers deserve to be seen, valued and respected not only at work, but in every aspect of daily life," David said in a statement.