53 California-based companies, including Apple, Google and Facebook, have received perfect scores in an annual report assessing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) workplace inclusion.
The 2015 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) is a project of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization. As the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, the 2015 CEI unveiled that a record 366 businesses — spanning nearly every industry and geography — earned a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
In total, 781 companies were officially rated in the 2015 CEI, up from 734 in the 2014 report. The report also unofficially rated 190 Fortune 500 companies who have yet to respond to the CEI survey about their LGBT policies and practices.
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 and responsible citizenship.
“When it comes to LGBT equality, Corporate America is a leader, not a follower,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “At every turn, from advocating for marriage equality to providing vital support for transgender employees, this country's leading companies have asked, 'what more can we do?,' and they've worked tirelessly to achieve new progress. That kind of leadership changes countless lives around this country, and sets an important example to other companies around the globe."
But despite steady progress, LGBT workers still face major obstacles.
“Too many companies still don't guarantee these vital workplace protections, and too many LGBT people — transgender people in particular — face high rates of unemployment and discrimination in hiring, keeping them from ever getting a foot in the door in the first place," Griffin added.
The majority of Americans want corporations to weigh in on social issues such as racial and gender discrimination, according to the 2014 Public Affairs Pulse survey, released in August. However, only 31 percent think companies should take a public stand on gay marriage. In fact, 65 percent say corporations should stay out of the marriage equality debate altogether.