The Best Companies in the U.S.
BY Advocate.com Editors
September 21 2010 11:55 AM ET
Cisco — Since first scoring 100% on the HRC Corporate Equality Index in 2004, Cisco has risen to the top of many diversity lists and currently ranks fifth on the International Business Equality index. Cisco also compensates employees for taxes and costs they pay on health care benefits for their same-sex partners.Kimpton — In 2004, Kimpton was the first hotel company to score a 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. In 2010, Kimpton was awarded the HRC’s Award for Workplace Equality Innovation, recognizing advanced and forward-thinking LGBT policies. For more information visit KimptonHotels.com/LGBT.Bank of America — Ranked number 2 on DiversityInc’s list of top companies for LGBT employees, Bank of America is also the home of the Human Rights Campaign and Rainbow Card credit cards and a member of the Business Coalition for Benefits Tax Equity, a group that lobbies Congress for equality in benefits for gay employees. For more information visit www.bankofamerica.com/diversity.Wells Fargo — Wells Fargo financial advisers are trained through the Accredited Domestic Partnership AdvisorSM (ADPASM) program. It’s tailor-made training to equip advisers with the necessary skills to help LGBT clients with financial planning. Wells Fargo is also a sponsor of Equality Allies 2010.Google — Google put the pressure on its competitors in 2010 when it adopted a “grossing up” policy, further compensating its many gay employees for the additional taxes they face. “I would expect Google’s competitors for employees to feel the most pressure to enact the same policy,” says M.V. Lee Badgett, research director for the Williams Institute and a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Toyota — Among the groups Toyota supports: Human Rights Campaign, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Point Foundation, AIDS Walk Los Angeles, and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as well as L.A.-based LifeWorks, which provides mentoring for LGBT youths. Since 2007, Toyota has had a transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination policy and transition coverage in place.Abercrombie & Fitch — A class action lawsuit in 2005 forced Abercrombie & Fitch to step up its diversity training regarding employees of color — and LGBT employees benefited in the process. Since 2006, A&F has scored 100% on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. As the brand is often criticized for courting the gay dollar, its philanthropic contributions to multiple gay causes prove it’s put their money where its mouth is.American Airlines — Not only does American Airlines market directly to gay travelers (who represent a $65 million industry segment), but the company flaunts its Rainbow Team, the first LGBT sales staff in the sky. American also sponsors flights to and from national gay events like Pride festivals and HRC galas. In 2002, American became the first airline to score 100% on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.AAA — For five years in a row, AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah has been voted the Best Place to Work for LGBT employees by the Human Rights Campaign. AAA has also been given the Award of Excellence from the Points of Light Foundation, the most prestigious national award for volunteerism.Anheuser-Busch — The Family Policy Network (which aims to inform Christians on important moral issues of the day) calls Anheuser-Busch "the most aggressivly pro-homosexual beer company in the world" because it sponsors gay pride festivals. The company came under fire after it launched a Bud Light ad campaign in 1999 depicting two men holding hands.Hewlett-Packard Co. — Hewlett-Packard has supported the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the U.N. Global Impact, and cites its diverse workforce as its key to maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In fact, the company was so inclusive that a former employee in its Boise, Idaho, office sued the company for not recognizing his religious freedom when he posted Leviticus quotes on diversity posters in the office that depicted a gay employee. He lost his case — and the appeal.JPMorgan Chase — National finance company JPMorgan Chase is part of the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness (organized by HRC), which urged Congress to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007.Pfizer — The pharmaceutical giant has been a proponent of volunteerism and philanthropy, and there's no exception where gay causes are concerned. Pfizer has been a big donor to the LGBT Caucus of Public Health Professionals and has backed HIV/AIDS research across the country and around the world. In 2009 the company teamed up with GlaxoSmithKline to form a pharma firm focusing solely on HIV/AIDS.Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams — Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams has not only scored 100% on the HRC’s Index since 2003 (the second year of the report), founder Mitchell Gold has gone above and beyond, founding Faith in America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving full equality for LGBT people at the national level. The furniture manufacturer is also a longtime sponsor of multiple gay events.Intel — Each year, IGLOBE (Intel Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender Employees) partners with Intel Involved to adopt a family to support LGBT or AIDS-affected individuals during the holidays. Intel was also a founding corporate member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.Delta — In addition to playing host to an LGBT specific travel site, Delta boasts GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Employee Network), one of many affinity groups for employees from various backgrounds. The world’s largest airline, the company joined the Corporate Equality Index in 2009.Starwood Hotels & Resorts — Starwood owns and operates some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, and since 2002 it has been dedicated to reaching out to gay consumers through its Diversity Council. Numerous Starwood hotels partner with Pride events across the United States each year, offering discounted rates and sponsorship deals. Starwood first received a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index in 2007.Continental — Scoring 100% on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for the third time this year, Continental has made it a point to go above and beyond, even offering Supplier Diversity Training, a program that communicates to employees with buying responsibilities the importance of having diverse suppliers and the airline's responsibility in sourcing small, diverse suppliers.Hyatt — A longtime leader in diversity training and LGBT outreach, Hyatt has hosted several events for the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Those who are boycotting Doug Manchester’s Hyatt in San Diego should note that the antigay Prop. 8 donor is a franchise owner and is currently negotiating to give up controlling interest in that hotel. Protesters at that location have noted Hyatt’s support of the gay community as a whole.JetBlue — JetBlue scored its first 100% rating on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index in 2010 on the strength of supporting some lesser-known gay charities, including Boston’s Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project and the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youths in New York City. This year JetBlue also ran a special Pride flight from San Francisco to Long Beach, Calif.Marriott — Bill Marriott is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but shortly after Prop. 8 was passed in California, he made clear in a blog post that neither he nor his company contributed to the campaign to ban marriage equality. Marriott was among the first companies in the hotel and tourism industry to offer domestic-partner benefits and has scored a 100% on the Corporate Equality Index since 2007.US Airways — In 2005, US Airways joined American and became the second airline to receive a 100% rating on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. The company also boasts a diversity council that actively recruits LGBT employees.Miller/Coors — Miller/Coors has worked on Capitol Hill in support of the Matthew Shepard hate-crimes bill and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The company started scoring 100% on the Corporate Equality Index in 2004 and was the first in the alcohol beverage industry to offer domestic-partner benefits.Progressive — In addition to scoring a 100% on the Corporate Equality Index, in 2009, Progressive Insurance began rolling out a series of ad campaigns (including last year’s Web-centric Faces of Pride campaign) aimed at gay consumers.Price Waterhouse Coopers — Ranked as one of the 10 best places to work for LGBT employees in the United States and the United Kingdom, Price Waterhouse Coopers has scored 100% on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index since 2006.
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