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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blue Cross, Bank of America shine in HRC's LGBT workplace equality scores

Posted by on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 12:53 PM

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Remarkably, someone, somewhere, has something nice to say about Duke Energy. 

The Human Rights Campaign released its annual Corporate Equality Index today, the leading scorecard for gauging employer protections for LGBT workers. And while it offers a limited snapshot of how North Carolina companies and law firms are performing—just 16 North Carolina entities are included, likely because they did not respond to HRC requests or they were not large enough to be rated—there do appear to be some positive signs. 

Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and a handful of other state businesses—Delhaize America Inc., which owns Food Lion; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, a home furnishings company in High Point; McLeansville-based china and glassware business Replacement Ltd.; and the Durham law firm Womble Carlyn Sandridge & Rice—earned the HRC's top rating of 100.

This generally indicates that an employer offers clear, consistent discrimination policies based on sexual orientation, sets discrimination standards for its contractors, offers LGBT-friendly insurance plans, provides employee resource groups and "positively" engages with the LGBT community, indicating that the business prohibits philanthropic giving to discriminatory organizations. 

Others in North Carolina performed generally well too, including RTP-based GlaxoSmithKline, which scored a 95 and Charlotte-based Duke Energy, which rated out to a 90. Duke lost points for failing to offer transgender-inclusive health insurance plans. 

Winston-Salem-based BB&T scored a comparatively modest 80, shedding points, like Duke, for skipping transgender health insurance. The lowest scoring company rated in North Carolina was Charlotte-based food service management company Compass Group, which pulled in a 50.

According to the report, Compass Group was penalized for failing to prohibit discrimination based on gender identify or expression, failing to require non-discrimination standards for contractors that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and, yes, lacking transgender health insurance coverage.

It's clear that businesses have much more to do with regards to the transgender community. 

But mostly, the CEI report was good news this year. As the HRC pointed out, just 13 businesses nationwide earned a perfect score in 2002, but in 2015, a record 407 businesses landed a top score. One key addition to this year's rating: HRC is now requiring companies to extend their discrimination policies globally. 

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