In the wake of homophobia accusations stemming from a bizarre incident earlier this month aboard one of its cruise ships, Royal Caribbean Cruises has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index (CEI).
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released its annual CEI Nov. 18, giving Royal Caribbean Cruises a 100 percent score for meeting all of its requirements. Those requirements, according to HRC’s Workplace Equality Program Coordinator Rena Peng, are: having non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity, employment benefits covering domestic partnerships and transgender inclusive healthcare, demonstrated organizational competency and accountability for LGBT diversity and inclusion, public commitment to LGBT equality and responsible citizenship.
Headquartered in Miami, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. made headlines on Nov. 13 when a passenger on its Oasis of the Seas ship fell into the ocean following a dispute. The passenger, Bernardo Garcia Teixeira, 31, is presumed dead by authorities. A gay man, Teixeira, reportedly, had a fight with his partner, Erik Elbaz, 34, before his fatal fall from the ship.
Michael Winkleman, an attorney for the Garcia Teixeira family, told the Associated Press the incident was preceded by homophobic comments from members of the ship’s crew toward the couple. Investigators with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office reported Garcia Teixeira threatened to jump from the ship. BSO says it has cell phone video of the incident.
The incident occurred roughly 17 miles from the Turks and Caicos Islands. The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for Teixeira.
Other Florida companies on the list receiving perfect scores include Akerman, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Office Depot, and Darden Restaurants. The lowest Florida scorers include Winn-Dixie (40) and NextEra Energy (60).