Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-03-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Know Your Rights: Ensuring Equality for LGBTQ Employees
GUEST COLUMN
by Paige M. Steffen, Esq., Clark Hill PLC
2016-12-28

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


The Corporate Equality Index ( "CEI" ), an annual list published by the Human Rights Campaign ( "HRC" ) Foundation that rates workplaces on LGBTQ equality, recently released its 15th Edition, which reported that a record number of businesses are now embracing inclusive policies for LGBTQ employees.

The CEI praises the success of the nation's largest employers, stating that they have "demonstrated through their actions that LGBTQ people are not just tolerated, but welcomed in their workplaces and communities."

In a time of turmoil and uncertainty, these companies are taking the lead to ensure that their most valuable assets, their employees, are protected and treated with respect and equality.

The HRC Foundation is one of the largest advocacy groups for the LGBTQ community, and it has used the CEI as a platform to gauge companies' level of LGBTQ workplace inclusion and to encourage all employers to promote equality for all employees. Approximately 900 companies with a minimum of 500 full-time employees throughout the U.S., representing almost every industry, participated in this year's CEI. All of the involved companies were ranked with a score from 0 to 100 depending on the inclusiveness of its workplace.

The scores are calculated based upon the following categories: ( 1 ) Equal employment opportunity policy, ( 2 ) Employment benefits ( equivalent spousal and partner benefits ); ( 3 ) Organizational LGBTQ competency; and ( 4 ) Public commitment to LGBTQ-specific efforts. Further, if the participating company was involved in a large-scale official or public anti-LGBTQ event, that company's score would be significantly decreased.

The CEI contained encouraging reports of great successes in ensuring fairness and equality in the workplace. Notably, 517 of the CEI-ranked companies, which is up from last year's 407, received perfect scores on this year's Index. More than 40 of the CEI-ranked companies with perfect scores, including Boeing, Crate and Barrel, Sears Holdings, and several law firms are based in Illinois.

Not only is this the largest number of companies receiving top scores, it is also the largest jump in a single year. Many additional CEI-rated companies, approximately 650 in total, offer transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage, and more than 90% of the businesses have implemented both sexual orientation and gender identity employment protections.

In addition, 50% of the Fortune 500 companies participating in this year's CEI offer transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage. To put this figure into perspective, not a single Fortune 500 company provided such coverage in 2002, and less than 10% provided coverage in 2011.

Further, 387 CEI-rated companies have adopted gender transition guidelines for employees in efforts to establish best practices for transgender inclusion in the workplace. These companies have also invested in education. For instance, 86% of the CEI-rated businesses offer education and training programs that specifically include definitions of and/or scenarios on gender identity in the workplace.

As evidenced by the above statistics, the public sector has led and continues to lead the way in workplace equality. Dozens of corporations have taken strong stances and spoken publically against federal and state bills that may retract from the progress that has been made in LGBTQ equality.

These public efforts by some of the nation's—and the world's—largest employers have reportedly helped block more than 100 laws across the U.S. that could have been detrimental to the LGBTQ community. For example, Wal-Mart, the nation's largest public employer with more than two million employees, helped defeat anti-LGBTQ laws in Arkansas. Whole Foods Market, among hundreds of other corporations, also intends to speak out against any and all Texas laws seen as hostile to LGBTQ persons.

The HRC Foundation encourages all companies to use the CEI as a guide to help develop and successfully implement inclusive LGBTQ policies and protections.

However, these companies' efforts to promote inclusive policies, practices, protections, and benefits for LGBTQ employees have been met with backlash. For instance, some retailers who have implemented supportive LGBTQ policies and made statements in support of the LGBTQ community have faced protests and boycotts from consumers. One of the most publicized boycotts came after Target pledged that customers and employees could use the bathroom of their gender identity. Additionally, there are still companies that do not recognize basic hiring protections for LGBTQ or recognize gender identity in their company policies.

While it is important to recognize the great strides that have been made in LGBTQ equality, it is equally important to understand that there is significant work to be done and that there are still barriers to full equality for the LGBTQ community.

Understanding and navigating your rights as an employee can be challenging and overwhelming. In the event that you have any questions, you may want to contact an attorney to discuss your situation.

Paige M. Steffen is an Associate Attorney in Clark Hill PLC's Chicago office. She concentrates her practice on insurance and health care law. Contact her at 312-517-7501 or psteffen@clarkhill.com .


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Alphonza Watson, a Black transgender woman, killed in Baltimore 2017-03-27 - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) mourns the death of Alphonza Watson, a Black transgender woman, killed in Baltimore, Maryland ...


Gay News

Anniversary of King's assassination marked with citywide teach-in April 4 2017-03-27 - Under the rubric, "Resist. Reimagine. Rebuild," a new Chicago coalition will host a citywide teach-in Tuesday, April 4 at the headquarters of the ...


Gay News

In loss for Trump, House pulls legislation to repeal Obamacare 2017-03-24 - In a loss for President Trump, the U.S. House withdrew legislation set for a vote March 24 to repeal Obamacare after near certain ...


Gay News

AHCA pulled from vote, ACLU and HRC applaud the outcome 2017-03-24 - From the ACLU WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives today decided not to vote on the American Health Care Act ( AHCA ...


Gay News

130 congregations to participate in Nat'l Weekend of Prayer for Trans Justice 2017-03-23 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — This weekend, religious leaders, clergy, and people of faith from more than 130 congregations in more than 30 states will ...


Gay News

NC GOP refuses to allow clean up or down vote on full HB2 repeal 2017-03-23 - WASHINGTON — On March 22 the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) and Equality North Carolina slammed North Carolina's Republican leadership for their ...


Gay News

Radical anti-LGBT activist appointed to lead HHS Civil Rights Office, groups respond 2017-03-23 - President Trump this week quietly appointed anti-LGBT extremist Roger Severino as Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health ...


Gay News

NCLR: Gorsuch fails to affirm fundamental rights for LGBT community 2017-03-23 - ( San Francisco, CA, March 23, 2017 )- Today marked the final day of Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for President Trump's Supreme ...


Gay News

Federal court: Florida death certificates must reflect same-sex relationships 2017-03-23 - ( Miami March 23, 2017 ) —Today, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that the state must issue ...


Gay News

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoes anti-LGBTQ "License to Discriminate" bills 2017-03-23 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) civil ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.