The days of organizations viewing gay
workplace discrimination ratings as an invasion of privacy are over.
Companies these days are more likely to think of a high mark as an
honor and make some noise. Proof of that fact can be found in their
This week the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the nation's largest gay rights organization, published its
2009 corporate gay discrimination report, titled Corporate Equality
Index. The scorecard of sorts rates companies on several gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender workplace policies and assigns each
a rating from 0- to100- percent. This year, corporations achieving a
perfect score soared by 30%. A record 259 (44%) of companies
received a score of 100%.
“The 2009 Corporate Equality Index
shows that corporate America understands that a diverse workforce is
critical to remaining successful and competitive,” said HRC
Foundation President Joe Solmonese in a statement. “In the absence
of a federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination based on
sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, it is up to
employers to take the lead and implement policies that ensure all
their employees are protected.”
Companies are achieving higher scores
because the index is clearly no longer dismissed as just gay
activism. In fact, most now view the index as an achievement. Those
with perfect scores, crow a bit in a press release.
Releases were distributed by several
prominent companies this year, including Motorola, Subaru of America,
ING, Aon, United Business Media LLC, Raytheon, Shell Oil and
ChoicePoint, a software company located
in Alpharetta, Georgia, received their sixth consecutive perfect
score and is the only Georgia based company to do so – a detail
found in their September 2nd press release.
“At ChoicePoint, what makes us
different makes us strong. This belief is a reflection of the
company culture and personality,” said Derek V. Smith, ChoicePoint
chairman and CEO, in his company's release. “We thank the Human
Rights Campaign again for this important recognition through the
Corporate Equality Index.”
Shell Oil Company president Marvin Odum
said the recognition was “a priority for us because it further
demonstrates our commitment to inclusiveness in the workplace,” in
a press release.
Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola was
also recognized for a sixth consecutive year. “Motorola is honored
to be recognized for the sixth consecutive year by the Human Rights
Campaign as a company that promotes and supports initiatives for our
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees,” said Jeanette
Kilo-Smith, vice president of Global Inclusion and Diversity for
The index also reported huge gains for
transgender employees, saying that gender protections have increased
twelve fold since 2002. A majority (66%) of indexed companies
prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
Fortune 500 companies also rated highly
with an average score of 83%.