Several companies with North Carolina headquarters are showing their commitment to workplace equality for LGBTQ employees.
Last week, the Human Rights Campaign released its 2018 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking report on corporate policies related to LGBTQ equality. The report evaluated workplace practices such as non-discrimination protections, domestic partner benefits, engagement with the public LGBTQ community and health care benefits that include transgender individuals.
“At a time when the rights of LGBTQ people are under attack by the Trump-Pence Administration and state legislatures across the country, hundreds of top American companies are driving progress toward equality in the workplace,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign in a press release. “The top-scoring companies on this year’s CEI are not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the United States, they are applying these policies to their operations around the globe and impacting millions of people beyond our shores.
North Carolina businesses that received the highest rating of 100 percent include BB&T in Winston Salem, Duke Energy in Charlotte, GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park and Lenovo in Morrisville.
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Delhaize America in Salisbury, Ingersoll-Rand in Davidson, Laboratory Corporation of America in Burlington, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in Taylorsville, Moore & Van Allen in Charlotte, Replacements in McLeansville and VF Corp. in Greensboro also received the top honor.
Evan Berland, director of U.S. corporate communications for GSK, said that the pharmaceutical company is proud to have received a perfect score.
“We aim to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone at GSK can feel able and inspired to realise their potential and help us meet global health challenges,” he said. “An inclusive environment welcomes different knowledge, perspectives, experiences and working styles from across our global population.”
Lenovo is also committed to attracting a more diverse workforce, said Seth Smiley Humphries, director of global diversity and inclusion for the technology company, which is based in China.
The company is working to grow its relationships with organizations that advocate for LGBTQ individuals such as North Carolina Equality and has instituted leadership development programs designed to advance women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities and veterans.
“The goal is to accelerate their impact and give them great visibility and experience with the goal of enhancing our pipeline of future executives,” Humphries said.
In addition, Lenovo has a non-discrimination policy that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as well as gender transition guidelines in place to support employees who transition.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the largest LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group in the United States, has conducted the Corporate Equality Index for the past 16 years. More than 945 businesses nationwide participated in the 2018 report.
The report also found that 91 percent of Fortune 500 companies include “sexual orientation” in their nondiscrimination policies and 83 percent include “gender identity.” More than half of Fortune 500 companies offer health care benefits that are inclusive of transgender individuals, and 230 of the 500 achieved a 100 percent rating on the Corporate Equality Index.
Overall, 609 companies received the 100 percent honor, which is the highest number in the survey’s history.