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Nov 19, 2014

Report Reveals Progress in North Carolina Business Support for LGBT Equality

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 19, 2014) -- Data released Wednesday from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) finds that a record number of companies, including seven in North Carolina, received perfect scores in corporate inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees (LGBT).

HRC's Corporate Equality Index 2015 ranked North Carolina-based Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, and Replacements, Ltd. among those receiving a perfect "100" score in the 13th edition of the national report.

CLICK HERE to view HRC's Corporate Equality Index 2015.

According to Chad Griffin, president of the HRC, the guide's "Best Places to Work," "an all-time record of 366 major businesses -- spanning every industry and geography -- earned a top score....This designation "reflects true inclusion of the transgender workforce, from non-discrimination protections to inclusive benefits and diversity practices to respectful gender transition guidelines, allowing employees to self-identity based on gender identity, and engaging the broader transgender community."

"When it comes to LGBT equality, corporate America is a leader, not a follower,” Griffin added about the report's findings.

Nevertheless, "much work remains to be done," Jeff Krehley, chief foundation officer for the Human Rights Campaign, wrote in an op-ed for The Advocate.

"Despite this progress, we still have enormous work to do," Krehley points out. "Transgender workers in the U.S. have double the rate of unemployment overall and face widespread mistreatment at work, according to the groundbreaking report “Injustice at Every Turn” by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force. Those numbers soar for transgender people of color. The repercussions of this discrimination can be devastating and leave far too many vulnerable to violence."

IBM, AT&T and Apple, all of which have a major presence in North Carolina, also received the top score.

The survey includes data from 781 companies, up from 734 only one year ago. of those, 15 are from North Carolina.

Companies were ranked for:

  • Non-discrimination policies
  • Employment benefits
  • Public commitment to LGBT equality
  • Responsible citizenship
  • Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion

"Since the CEI’s inception in 2002, America’s largest employers embrace LGBT-inclusion as a best business practice, and protections for employees on the basis of gender identity as a non-negotiable," added Griffin.

Scores for North Carolina

Scores for firms rated in North Carolina:

  • Bank of America Corp. 100
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina 100
  • Delhaize America Inc. 100
  • GlaxoSmithKline LLC 100
  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams 100
  • Replacements, Ltd. 100
  • Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP 100
  • Duke Energy Corp. 90
  • Reynolds American Inc. 85
  • BB&T Corp. 80
  • Hanesbrands Inc. 80
  • Moore & Van Allen PLLC 75
  • Compass Group USA Inc. 65
  • Quaintance-Weaver Inc. 65
  • VF Corp. 50

The report found that 89 percent of companies include gender identity as part of non-discrimination policies, up three percentage points from a year ago. Among Fortune 500 companies, 66 percent have such policies, up five percentage points from 2013.

The survey also includes 190 Fortune 500 companies that were assigned "unofficial" scores based on "publicly available information."

A total of 418 companies that participated in the survey also offer "at least one health care plan that has transgender-inclusive coverage." That total represents a 22 percent increase.

The full report can be read at: www.hrc.org/cei.

Do you represent a small or large business in North Carolina that supports LGBT equality? Join Equality NC's Business Equality Council.

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