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Chipotle to Papa John's: 60 Corps That Improved LGBTQ Policies in 2020

Chipotle

The Human Rights Campaign this week released its 19th Corporate Equality Index, which closely examines the LGBTQ+ policies of thousands of American corporations, including most of the Fortune 500. Even with the tumult of 2020 — from the COVID-19 pandemic to social unrest to a president who refused to concede an election and incited an insurrection — corporate America trended toward inclusivity, with 60 corporations that previously appeared on the CEI receiving perfect scores for the first time.

In total, 767 businesses met all the criteria to earn a 100 percent rating and the designation of being a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality,” including several that participated in the CEI for the first time ever.

HRC considers numerous criteria when ranking company's LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Criteria 1 is workplace protections, specifically if companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (also, in 2020 the Supreme Court banned anti-LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination across the U.S.).

Criteria 2 is whether companies offer inclusive medical benefits and other additional benefits for same-sex spouses and domestic partners as well as transgender-inclusive medical care.

Criteria 3 ranks companies on inclusive culture and corporate responsibility, specifically diversity training for management and new hires, gender transition guidelines, LGBTQ+ resource groups, and outreach and engagement to the LGBTQ+ community, either through marketing, advertising, or philanthropy. 

The latter criteria is imperative because as HRC notes, "policy isn't practice," and 46 percent of LGBTQ+ employees remain closeted at work.

The recent improvement in corporate treatment of LGBTQ+ employees and issues is evident and dramatic. For example, "a full 94 percent of the Fortune 500 — including both companies that participate in the CEI survey and those that do not — have gender identity protections enumerated in their nondiscrimination policies (up from 3 percent in 2002) and 99 percent of the entire CEI universe of businesses offer explicit gender identity nondiscrimination protections (up from 5 percent in 2002)," HRC states.

Numerous top-ranked Fortune 500 companies, from Walmart to Apple to AT&T, once again received scores of 100 on the CEI after crossing the threshold last year and in previous years. But there were dozens of companies that have previously participated in the CEI that just hit 100 in the 2021 report. Those companies include:

-Amalgamated Bank of New York, which rose from a score of 80 in last year's CEI.
-Ball Corp. of Westminster, Colo., which rose from a score of 95 in last year's CEI.
-Bank of America of Charlotte, N.C., which rose from a score of 75 in last year's CEI.
-Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. of Newport Beach, Calif., which rose from a score of 90 in last year's CEI.
-Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Mo., which rose from a score of 95 in last year's CEI.
-Giant Eagle Inc., of Pittsburgh, which rose from a score of 90 in last year's CEI.
-Instacart of San Francisco, which rose from a score of 85 in last year's CEI.
-Keurig Dr. Pepper Inc. of Plano, Texas, which rose from a score of 70 in last year's CEI.
-LexisNexis Legal & Professional of New York, which rose from a score of 95 in last year's CEI.
-Mars Inc. of Mt. Olive, N.J., which rose from a score of 90 in last year's CEI.
-McGraw Hill LLC of New York, which rose from a score of 95 in last year's CEI.
-Nokia Inc. of Irving, Texas, which rose from a score of 95 in last year's CEI.
-Papa John's International Inc. of Louisville, Ky., which rose from a score of 90 in last year's CEI.
-Patagonia Inc. of Ventura, Calif., which rose from a score of 95 in last year's CEI.
-Phillips of Cambridge, Mass., which rose from a score of 90 in last year's CEI.
-Pitney Bowes, Inc. of Stamford, Conn., which rose from a score of 85 in last year's CEI.
-QUALCOMM Inc. of San Diego, which rose from a score of 90 in last year's CEI.
-Virgin Orbit of Long Beach, Calif., which rose from a score of 95 in last year's CEI.
-Wayfair of Boston, which rose from a score of 85 in last year's CEI.

Download the full 2021 Corporate Equality Index here.

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