Where to work

By Jeremy Quittner

Originally published on Advocate.com September 29 2003 12:00 AM ET

For many people,
this year has been a tough one in which to even find a
job. Despite the record high unemployment levels, though,
gay people have continued to make significant strides
in corporate America—by gaining both written
protections against discrimination based on sexual
orientation and gender identity and better access to
domestic-partner benefits.

Considering these
gains, The Advocate has again compiled a list of
10 of the best places for gay people to work. The list
considers information companies submitted to the
magazine and uses research published in the Human
Rights Campaign 2003 Corporate Equality Index, which
ranks 362 companies of varying sizes on a scale of
0–100.

To calculate its
scores, HRC assigns points based on seven criteria, such
as whether the company has a written nondiscrimination
policy for sexual orientation, if it offers same-sex
domestic-partner benefits, if it conducts
GLBT-sensitive advertising campaigns, and if it avoids
support of antigay groups.

This year HRC
gave 21 of the largest companies in the United States
perfect scores of 100, nearly twice as many companies as in
2002. One of the biggest areas of progress this year
was in protection against discrimination based on
gender identity and expression. In 2002 only 15 of the
Fortune 500 companies surveyed by HRC included gender
identity or expression in their written
nondiscrimination policies. This year 22
companies—9% of the 250 Fortune 500 companies in the
index—do.

Four of the
companies with perfect scores examined by The
Advocate
this year are financial services firms.
These companies “in particular are interested
in building a GLBT customer base,” explains
HRC’s Kim Mills, “and in order to do
that, you have to have your own house in
order.”

The following is
not meant to be a list of the 10 best places to work in
the United States, but rather 10 places that have
enlightened workplace practices and protections for
gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered
employees.

Bank One, Chicago
2002 revenues: $16.8 billion, Employees:
73,000 U.S. Fortune 500 ranking: 79, HRC score:
100

The sixth-largest
bank in the United States is good at more than just
providing checking and savings accounts—it is one of
the few Fortune 500 companies to include gender
identity as well as sexual orientation in its written
nondiscrimination policy. The company offers the same
benefits to same-sex domestic partners as it does
married partners, including bereavement leave,
relocation benefits, and an adoption benefit that
reimburses couples up to $3,500 per adopted child. Partners
of gay employees are also eligible for pensions in the
event of the employee’s death. Bank One has an
officially sanctioned gay employee group called Eagle
One, and the company supports AIDS walks and pride parades
in its major business centers, including Chicago;
Indianapolis; Phoenix; Columbus, Ohio; and Wilmington,
Del. Additionally, it sponsors Equality Illinois, the
Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization, and the Out &
Equal conference. Bank One also actively markets its deposit
and investment products to gay customers.

Bausch & Lomb, Rochester, N.Y.
2002 revenues: $1.8 billion, Employees: 11,500
U.S. Fortune 1,000 ranking: 721, HRC score: 100

The eye care
company was an early supporter of the proposed Employment
Non-Discrimination Act in Congress. It also includes both
sexual orientation and gender identity in its written
antidiscrimination protections and provides benefits
to same-sex domestic partners. Those benefits include
free contact lenses and membership in the company’s
fitness center as well as bereavement leave and coverage of
relocation expenses for partners. The company’s
official gay employee group, GLOB&L, was founded
in 1995. Bausch & Lomb has aggressive, ongoing,
and mandatory diversity training for all employees, which
covers sexual identity and gender expression.
Beneficiaries of corporate giving include AIDS
Rochester, the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, Image Out
(Rochester’s lesbian and gay film festival), and the
Rochester and Tampa, Fla., pride parades. In 2002 the
company also sponsored the Rochester Gay
Alliance’s youth group.

Borders Group, Ann Arbor, Mich.
2002 revenues: $3.4 billion, Employees: 32,000
U.S. Fortune 500 ranking: 446, HRC score: 86

Not only a giant
in the book, music, and video retail business, Borders
also has progressive policies for all of its employees,
including its GLBT segment. It formally bans
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender
identity, and it has offered domestic-partner benefits to
same-sex couples and their dependent children since 1996.
Borders also reimburses $3,000 for the adoption of one
child and $4,000 total for sibling group adoptions.
The company does not have an official gay employee
group, opting instead for a companywide diversity task force
that encompasses all minorities. It has diversity training
for all employees, which includes the topic of sexual
orientation. The company has supported many local
events and causes, such as gay pride parades in San
Francisco and Chicago and AIDS Walk San Francisco, and is a
paying member of the Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian
Chamber of Commerce. It officially celebrated Gay
Pride Month this past June by offering a
“diversity book club” for employees, featuring
free copies of books with gay and lesbian subject
matter.

Capital One Financial, McLean, Va.
2002 revenues: $9.6 billion, Employees: 18,000
U.S. Fortune 500 ranking: 191, HRC score: 100

One of the
largest issuers of credit cards, Capital One also boasts an
openly lesbian top executive—executive vice president
of operations Marge Connelly. The company’s
workplace protections and benefits for gay employees
are comprehensive and rich, including a written
nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation
and gender identity as well as domestic-partner
benefits for all unmarried couples. An early supporter
of ENDA, Capital One currently offers adoption
planning services for all employees, and it will also offer
an adoption benefit of up to $5,000 per child in
January. The company officially recognized June as
LGBT pride month by holding a diversity discussion for
all employees via teleconference with Elizabeth Birch of the
Human Rights Campaign. Its diversity training covers
gay issues, and Capital One recently held a special
transgender education session to support an employee
who transitioned. The company’s corporate giving and
sponsorship aids such groups as the Family Pride
Coalition, the Richmond Organization for Sexual
Minority Youth in Virginia, HRC, and the Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation.

Cingular Wireless, Atlanta
2002 revenues: $14.7 billion, Employees: 35,000
U.S. Fortune 1,000 ranking: Does not apply, HRC score: 86

The
nation’s second-largest wireless telecommunications
company was founded in 2000 from merged domestic
wireless units of BellSouth and SBC, and it is already
making strides in its protections and benefits for gay
and lesbian employees. Its nondiscrimination policy
currently includes sexual orientation, though not yet
gender identity. Since 2001 it has had
domestic-partner benefits for both same-sex and opposite-sex
couples, such as medical, vision, dental, and
dependent life insurance; employee scholarships;
bereavement leave; and financial assistance for adoptions
in the amount of up to $5,000 per child, among other
benefits. The company has recently formed a gay
employee group to accompany those for other
minorities. Corporate giving includes sponsorship of the
Human Rights Campaign, Georgia Equality, AIDS Walk
Atlanta, and the American Cancer Society’s
Relay for Life, plus support of various pride events and
parades across the country, including those in Seattle and
Boca Raton, Fla. Its Knoxville, Tenn., office has
donated to the local Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer
Foundation fund-raiser.

Deutsche Bank European HQ: Frankfurt, Germany U.S. HQ:
New York City
2002 revenues: $30 billion, Employees: 77,000
U.S. Fortune 1,000 ranking: Does not apply, HRC score: 100

This German
bank’s involvement in the United States is
significant as it is one of the largest financial
services providers globally, with about 13 million
customers in 76 countries. The bank has had domestic-partner
benefits for same-sex couples since 1998, and its
nondiscrimination policy includes both sexual
orientation and gender identity and expression. All
employees can receive up to $5,000 per adopted child and
12 weeks of paid family leave for the primary caregiver. Its
U.S. gay employee group is called the Rainbow Group
Americas, officially recognized by the company and
publicized through a corporate Intranet site. Deutsche
Bank supports gay and AIDS groups almost too numerous to
mention, including the Hetrick-Martin Institute, New York
Community Trust–New York City AIDS Fund, and
God’s Love We Deliver. In a matching grant
program for employees who raise funds for charities,
Deutsche Bank has also supported the San Francisco
AIDS Foundation, among others. Managerial diversity
training includes issues dealing with sexual
orientation. The company also does gay-focused advertising
and says it will start actively recruiting openly gay
and lesbian employees this fall.

Hyatt Hotels, Chicago
2002 revenues: $3.2 billion, Employees: 40,000
U.S. Fortune 1,000 ranking: Does not apply, HRC score: 86

One of the
biggest hotel operators in the United States, Hyatt has had
domestic-partner benefits for same- and opposite-sex
partners since 1997 as well as a written policy of
nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation. The
company says it plans to include gender identity in that
policy soon. All benefits offered to straight couples are
offered to same-sex couples, including bereavement
leave, relocation expenses, and the right to designate
a partner as a pension plan beneficiary. Partners also
can receive Hyatt’s reduced employee rates for hotel
stays. The company has no official gay employee group,
but it does have a diversity council aimed at all
minority needs. The company sponsors the Human Rights
Campaign and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Lehman Brothers, New York City
2002 revenues: $16.8 billion, Employees: 12,000
worldwide U.S. Fortune 500 ranking: 109, HRC
score: 100

This investment
bank is a major global player in the financial markets
and has recently become more accepting of its gay employees.
Lehman Brothers’ nondiscrimination policy
includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and
it has domestic-partner benefits for both same- and
opposite-sex partners. Other benefits include allowing
employees to designate a same-sex partner as a pension
plan beneficiary. The investment bank has an
officially sanctioned gay employee group called the
Lehman Brothers Gay and Lesbian Network, and it aggressively
recruits openly gay and lesbian employees from leading
business schools. Recipients of corporate philanthropy
include New York City’s Callen-Lorde Community
Health Center and the Hetrick-Martin Institute.

Metropolitan Life Insurance, New York City
2002 revenues: $34 billion, Employees: 47,000
U.S. Fortune 500 ranking: 38, HRC score: 100

MetLife, the life
insurance and financial services giant, has had
domestic-partner benefits for both same- and opposite-sex
partners since 2002, and this year it added gender
identity to its nondiscrimination policy. Sexual
orientation has been included in that policy for more than
three years. MetLife officially sanctions its gay employee
organization, called the MetLife Gay and Lesbian
Employee Group. The company has sponsored the New York
City Gay Life Expo, the International Gay and Lesbian
Business and Entertainment Festival, the Out & Equal
conference, and pride events in New Jersey and Colorado. The
company also does gay-specific advertising in the gay
and mass media as well as in its product brochures.
MetLife says it also works with gay vendors who supply
business services to the company.

Morrison and Foerster, San Francisco
2002 revenues: More than $500 million, Employees:
2,200 U.S. Fortune 1,000 ranking: Does not apply,
HRC score: 100

Primarily known
for its intellectual property and corporate finance
expertise, this law firm has also worked on prominent cases
such as Lawrence v. Texas, for which it filed an
amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court this spring.
Its highest executive—the company uses the term
“chair” rather than chairman—is Keith
Wetmore, an openly gay man. The law firm has full
domestic-partner benefits for same- and opposite-sex
couples and a written nondiscrimination policy that includes
sexual orientation as well as gender identity.

Morrison and
Foerster has aggressive diversity training efforts, and the
firm invites GLBT employees to meet confidentially with
facilitators to address issues. In addition to
medical, vision, dental, life insurance, and long-term
care, the firm also allows anyone, including domestic
partners, to be a beneficiary in the company retirement
plan, and provides paid family leave for adoptions to
employees. It has a gay employees group commonly known
as Mofo Homos.

The firm’s
list of funding beneficiaries is too extensive to enumerate
completely, but it has included the American Civil Liberties
Union’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, AIDS
Housing Alliance of Sacramento, the California AIDS
Ride, the Bay Area’s Pride Law Fund, the National
Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Lambda Legal
Defense and Education Fund. It also does pro bono work
involving gay concerns.