RALEIGH – Sixteen North Carolina companies are among the top scorers in a new study of workplace policies and standards designed for protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workers. That’s four more than in 2019.
Having gone through the fallout of the so-called “bathroom bill” (HB2) in 2016 – since repealed in large part in 2017 – more companies in North Carolina are supporting and implementing initiatives recognizing workforce equality as reflected by the larger number of perfect scores.
Lenovo, GlaxoSmithKline, LabCorp and Duke Energy were among the firms receiving a perfect ratings score of 100 in the 2020 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) as compiled by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. They also received a 100 score in 2019 and 2018.
“I’m proud that our company is receiving this important recognition for the third consecutive year,” said Adam Schechter, CEO of LabCorp, in a statement. “This is a reflection of our business practices to support workplace equality, but more importantly, our belief that our diverse base of mission-driven employees worldwide is core to our ability to innovate, meet customer needs, and deliver on our mission to improve health and improve lives.”
Others include BB&T (now Truist), Lowe’s, Food Lion and VF Corp.
“HRC was proud to see so many businesses headquartered in North Carolina or with large operations in North Carolina using the CEI to best serve their LGBTQ employees and engage with the LGBTQ community,” Beck Bailey, Director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program, said via email to WRAL TechWire.
“These companies know that protecting their LGBTQ employees and customers from discrimination is not just the right thing to do — it is also the best business decision. In addition, many of these leaders are also advocating for the LGBTQ community and equality under the law in the public square. One clear example of this was when businesses spoke out against North Carolina’s HB2, a bill that overturned protections for LGBTQ North Carolinians and sanctioned discrimination across the state.”
Overall scores dip
However, as more firms are being surveyed, the state’s overall score is declining, Twenty-one NC firms were rated in 2018 and 2019. That number rose to 27 for the 2020 report with an average score of 78. That’s down slightly from 88 percent in the 2019 report and 90 percent in 2018 report.
The 16 follow “all of the CEI’s criteria,” HRC said. In all, 680 firms received a “100” score.
“These companies know that protecting their LGBTQ employees and customers from discrimination is not just the right thing to do – it is also the best business decision. In addition, many of these leaders are also advocating for the LGBTQ community and equality under the law in the public square,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a statement.
“From supporting LGBTQ civil rights protections in the U.S. through HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act, to featuring transgender and non-binary people in an ad in Argentina, to advocating for marriage equality in Taiwan — businesses understand their LGBTQ employees and customers deserve to be seen, valued and respected not only at work, but in every aspect of daily life.”
The four categories measured include:
- Non-discrimination policies
- Employment benefits
- Supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility including public commitment to LGBTQ equality
- Responsible citizenship
The list of top firms follows in chart form:
The report notes that more firms are supporting transgender initiatives.
“Over the last several years, CEI-rated companies have dramatically expanded their support for transgender workers. This year 89% percent of companies participating in the CEI offer at least one health care policy that is inclusive of their transgender workers, and 85% percent met stringent criteria that requires all blanket exclusions of medically-necessary care for transgender workers be removed from all health policies the company offers — up from 73% last year,” HRC said.