Philly companies rank high in corporate LGBT index
by Angela Thomas
Nov 22, 2012 | 2475 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Every year, the Human Rights Campaign releases a list of companies that have demonstrated leadership and excellence in LGBT workplace equality and, this year, several Philadelphia-based companies scored high.

The Corporate Equality Index, now in its 11th year, scored a record 252 companies and businesses nationwide with a perfect 100, including locals GlaxoSmithKline and Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, which were at the top of the list last year, and Comcast Corp., a newcomer to the 100 score.

Comcast, one of the world’s largest leading media, entertainment and communications companies, received the top score after an 80 last year.

Klayton Fennell, vice president of government affairs and executive champion of Comcast’s OUT employee affinity group, said he felt fortunate to work for a company that celebrates diversity.

“[I’m] particularly proud that Comcast and NBC Universal have been named one of the nation’s ‘best places to work’ for the LGBT community. The recognition, celebration and active support of diverse people and ideas have always been and continue to be essential to our business,” Fennell said.

Comcast lost points last year for not providing fully trans-inclusive health-insurance coverage and failing to meet the entire criteria for LGBT diversity training, two issues it rectified in the last year.

Fennell said the company’s LGBT successes include nondiscrimination policies, equal insurance and other benefits, corporate philanthropy and marketing practices.

“Comcast and NBC Universal are committed to identifying and expanding opportunities for members of the LGBT community through our recruitment and career development, supplier diversity, community investment and programming.”

Also notable was Saul Ewing, LLP, which went from a score of 30 last year to 90 in the 2013 index.

According to Saul Ewing spokesperson Leslie Gross, the company did not submit a survey last year and said HRC likely based that score on its own research. She said she made sure the company submitted a survey this year.

Anthony Forte, a partner in Saul Ewing’s real-estate department, said the company makes progress each year on LGBT issues.

“In the firm, we have started to gross up compensation of LGBT employees who suffer from the unfair tax treatments for health insurance in regards to their domestic-partnership benefits,” he said.

Saul Ewing also recently started an LGBT affinity group.

“That has been a nice new support for our attorneys and it is open to all attorneys,” he said.

Forte said this year’s rating is a welcome and deserved addition.

“I think the general view is that we are really pleased to have improved our score so much this year and that it accurately reflects our commitment to LGBT employees and their issues.”

Philadelphia-area companies, Aramark Corp., Ballard Spahr LLP, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and Pepper Hamilton LLP also received 90s, the same as last year. They continue to be out of reach of the top score as they don’t provide completely trans-inclusive health-insurance coverage.

Duane Morris LLP also stayed steady at 85 percent, losing points for its lack of trans-inclusive coverage and partial points for its “soft” domestic-partner benefits.

Pep Boys decreased from a 70 to a 65, getting docked for not offering trans-inclusive coverage or full LGBT competency training and receiving partial points for LGBT public commitment and responsible citizenship.

Overall, the survey found that, of Fortune 500 companies, 88 percent offer nondiscrimination policies inclusive of sexual orientation and 57 percent inclusive of gender identity — marking the first time ever that a majority of Fortune 500 companies offer fully inclusive LGBT nondiscrimination policies. Of those Fortune 500s that participated, 99 percent and 83 percent offer sexual orientation- and gender identity-inclusive policies, respectively.

For more information on the Corporate Equality Index, visitwww.hrc.org/corporate-equality-index.

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