Washington state companies, including those on the Eastside, earned high marks in the annual Human Rights Campaign Equality Index. In 2015, 407 businesses achieved perfect 100 scores, a new record. That’s a huge increase from the 13 businesses that hit the perfect score in 2002, the report’s first year.
Washington-based companies and law firms averaged a score of 90 percent. On the Eastside, Outerwall, Microsoft, and T-Mobile scored 100 percent. Law firms Perkins Coie and Davis Wright Tremaine, both with Bellevue offices, also achieved top marks.
Bellevue–based Expedia and Issaquah-based Costco earned a 90 and an 80 percent respectively.
Now with its 14th edition, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index assigns scores to corporations based on a set of criteria: equal employment opportunities, employment benefits, transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage, LGBT-specific corporate efforts, and responsible citizenship — which includes diversity trainings, resources, and accountability measures in the workplace.
Each criteria is assigned a point score. Notably, 25 points are deducted for “a large-scale official or public anti-LGBT blemish on their recent records.” This year, no company received this deduction.
HRC president Chad Griffin said in a statement that the numbers set a precedent for businesses in both the United States and internationally.
“[T]his year, many leading U.S. companies have broken new ground by expanding explicit non-discrimination protections to their LGBT workers around the globe. They’ve shown the world that LGBT equality isn’t an issue that stops at our own borders, but extends internationally,” Griffin said in a statement.
The HRC invited 1,938 businesses and law firms to take the survey. The HRC sends surveys to the top 1,000 Fortune magazine publicly traded businesses list as well as the top 200 revenue-grossing law firms according to American Lawyer magazine. In total, 851 companies officially were rated.
Ratings are based on more than self-reporting. The HRC also uses sources such as SEC filings, IRS 990s, case law, and news accounts; employees or individual complaints and the HRC Foundation Workplace Equality Program.
The ratings matter to businesses. The HRC uses the scores to compile a search database and also creates a consumer guide released at the start of the holiday shopping season. It’s estimated that LGBT consumers account for $884 billion in spending power, based on market research firm Witeck Communications.
Businesses that earn a 100 percent rating are recognized by the HRC as being one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”