HRC Ranks LGBT-friendliness of Firms in 2018 Corporate Equality Index

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Many of the Florida-based corporations ranked by the 2018 Corporate Equality Index [CEI] received perfect 100 scores.

Compiled by the Human Rights Campaign and in its 16th year, the CEI looks at the inclusiveness of company policies. The voluntary survey is based on the existence of non-discrimination policies, equitable benefits for LGBT workers and their families, accountability of LGBT inclusion, and a public commitment to LGBT equality.

“At a time when the rights of LGBTQ people are under attack by the Trump-Pence Administration and state legislatures across the country, hundreds of top American companies are driving progress toward equality in the workplace,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement. “The top-scoring companies on this year’s CEI are not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the United States, they are applying these policies to their operations around the globe and impacting millions of people beyond our shores.”

This year, the HRC tallied “a record-breaking 609 businesses” as scoring perfect scores. That’s up from 517 last year. Some of the Florida companies to receive perfect scores were Citrix Systems, Office Depot, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

“For the second year in a row, Citrix received a perfect score (100%) on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index. It’s a huge accomplishment and it means that we are at the forefront of valuing diversity in the workplace,” wrote Lee Rubin, Citrix’s director of global reference programs and customer engagement.

“Businesses can use the CEI as a guide to ensure that their existing policies and benefits are inclusive of the LGBT workforce and their families – and that, in turn, helps companies recruit and retain a talented, diverse workforce,” said Beck Bailey, HRC’s deputy director of Employee Engagement, Workplace Equality Program. “We encourage businesses to use the report as a roadmap to LGBTQ inclusion, and HRC stands ready to work with companies that want to enhance their success by doing right by their LGBTQ employees, and have that effort recognized in the CEI.”

But some of South Florida’s best-known corporations didn’t fare as well.

Publix, which got a 10 in the 2017 survey, was not scored. Winn Dixie and ADT both received a 45, AutoNation got a 10, and Walmart, which received a 100 the year before, had its score suspended. “These determinations pointed to significant enforcement gaps in Walmart’s non-discrimination policy, specifically with regards to sex and gender identity. Pending remedial steps by the company, the CEI rating is suspended,” stated the HRC in its survey.

“We are proud of our work on LGBT-inclusive and nondiscriminatory policies. We’re disappointed with the HRC’s decision to temporarily suspend our score, which was going to be rated at 100 percent for the second year in a row. While we respect the HRC’s work, we are confident in Walmart’s leading practices that support our LGBTQ communities and look forward to further educating them on our policies,” stated a Walmart spokesperson.

Pride At Work, an LGBT organization that advocates for equality in the workplace, lauded HRC’s suspension of Walmart’s score. “While HRC deserves credit for doing the right thing in this case, it is unfortunate that so many LGBTQ people had to face discrimination at the Walmart’s hands before they took action. In the last CEI, Walmart received a perfect score despite the fact that the company had just settled a class action lawsuit brought by LGBTQ people who had been denied spousal benefits.”

Winn Dixie, Publix, ADT, and AutoNation did not respond to media requests for comment.


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