HRC Scores LGBT-Inclusive Workplace Policies of North Carolina Companies

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, released the 2017 Corporate Equality Index, an annual report assessing LGBT inclusion in major companies and law firms across the nation, including 23 in North Carolina.

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Corporate America, propelled by the HRC Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI), has led the way on LGBTQ inclusion for more than a decade. As the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, the 2017 CEI unveiled that a record 517 businesses -- spanning nearly every industry and geography -- earned a top score of 100 percent and the coveted distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”

That record number of perfect scores was achieved despite demanding new criteria requiring that companies with global operations extend non-discrimination protections for their LGBT workers worldwide.

In total, 887 companies were officially rated in the new CEI, up from 851 in last year’s. The report also unofficially rated 156 Fortune 500 companies, which have yet to respond to the CEI survey about their LGBTQ policies and practices. The average score for companies and law firms based in North Carolina is 77 percent. Of the 23 companies ranked, 12 earned 100 percent, 16 earned 90 percent and above, and 17 earned 80 percent and above.

In March, HRC and Equality NC, the state organization working to secure equal rights and justice for LGBTQ North Carolinians, released a letter from more than 100 leading CEOs and other business leaders calling on Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal the radical provisions in the deeply discriminatory HB 2 measure. The letter -- signed by CEOs and business leaders from across the nation -- was delivered by HRC President Chad Griffin and Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro personally to Governor McCrory’s office.

Over the spring, an additional 100 business leaders signed onto the letter -- including many of North Carolina’s largest employers. Major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, stopped investments in the state because of the new law’s threat to employees and consumers.

Artists including Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Dead & Company, and Cyndi Lauper have spoken out. Conventions have withdrawn from the state, taking substantial revenue with them, and the Charlotte Chamber said in May that HB2 has cost the Mecklenburg area alone $285 million and 1300 jobs.

“Even in the face of relentless attempts to undermine equality, America’s leading companies and law firms remain steadfast and committed to supporting and defending the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The unprecedented expansion of inclusive workplaces across the country and around the globe not only reflects our progress, it helps drive it.  As we enter a new chapter in our fight for equality, support from the business community will be more critical than ever to protect our historic advancements over the last decade and to continue to push equality forward for workers, customers, and families around the world.”

Key national findings contained in the 2017 CEI:

517 companies earned a 100 percent in the 2017 CEI, up from 407 in the 2016 report.
647 companies participating in this year’s CEI now offer transgender workers at least one health care plan that has transgender-inclusive coverage. That’s a 314 percent increase since 2012, when the CEI first included trans-inclusive health care as a requisite for companies to receive a perfect score;
Gender identity is now part of non-discrimination policies at 82 percent of Fortune 500 companies, up from just 3 percent in 2002;
 387 major employers have adopted supportive inclusion guidelines for transgender workers who are transitioning.
And 156 Fortune 500 companies were given unofficial scores based on publicly available information

Just as the CEI has successfully steered the country’s top corporations, law firms and their influential leaders toward breaking new ground in workplace equality -- from enacting LGBT non-discrimination policies to extending same-sex partner benefits -- it has also helped companies move toward full inclusion for their transgender employees.

The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories:

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

The full report, including a searchable employer database is available online at

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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