Bil Browning

HRC's business ranking system

Filed By Bil Browning | November 21, 2006 12:13 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: employee benefits, HRC, LGBT community, nondiscrimination

The Human Rights Campaign issued their 2007 Buying for Equality guide yesterday. I spent some time this morning browsing through the listings since we try to be responsible consumers and thought I'd share some companies that lots of Hoosiers know and patronize that scored a zero on the equality scale. (Remember, a zero means that the company has no discrimination protections for sexual orientation or gender identity, offers no domestic partner benefits, doesn't advertise with the LGBT community or support LGBT events, and offers no diversity training.)

Some companies (and their products) you might want to reconsider:
  • Exxon/Mobile Corporation
  • Meijer

That's it. Seriously. That's all of the companies that rank a zero. Everyone else at least has a non-discrimination policy that covers sexual orientation. Count 'em. One. Two.

And how many of us shop at Meijer?

The part that intrigued me though was how many companies were still marked "Avoid If Possible." It seems as if any company that scored below 50 out of a 100 was marked with the red line. (Other categories included the yellow-colored "Companies Making Progress" and green-lined "Best Places to Shop.") But let's look at one example that stunned me. Remember, this company - at 45 - is listed as an "Avoid If Possible" company...

Would you think you worked for a gay friendly company if your employer:

  • Had a non-discrimination policy that covered sexual orientation
  • Has offered domestic partner benefits since 1997
  • Had a history of LGBT advertising, sponsorship or philanthropy

I think I'd be happy working at Donna Karan. At first glance, it would seem a very affirming and welcoming place to work. Now granted, they don't include gender identity in their non-discrimination policy - and that's a big one. That's the one stand-out to me. But, still, we should be happy for what they do offer, right? After all, how many other companies still don't offer sexual orientation protections, right?

Well, apparently, two.

So am I just so used to not being protected that I expect it? Or am I just used to smaller, regional companies that still haven't caught up with the big guys? Does your company offer sexual orientation protections? What about gender identity? Do you have domestic partner benefits? And finally, is your company already on the list - or are they not on it?

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Compared Donna Karan to some of the 100% companies that offer a wide range of benefits to GLBT couples and you start to see why they're further down the list.

My company doesn't seem to be listed. But we have the sexual orientation/gender identity protections and the domestic partner benefits. I'd be curious to see where we rank.

You're right Steph. When you look at other companies lists of benefits DKNY doesn't offer much. But, still, they offer more than most companies I've worked at! As an example, I've never worked anywhere that offered domestic partner benefits. Never. DKNY does. So that would make them better than any place I've ever worked...

Isn't it amazing that the gold standard keeps raising? Do you think we truly are rising above the glass ceiling of "Can I put out a picture of my partner?" so far that Donna Karan should rate an "Avoid If Possible?" Maybe I'm being too conservative, but I don't know that Exxon/Mobile and Meijer aren't the only two that should deserve that rating. At least everyone else has done something...

This is very surprising to me. I once tried to look up information on Meijer's treatment of employees and was not able to find much info. I was hoping that Meijer was a good alternative to Wal-Mart. Now I know I need to just not shop anywhere cheap. I shall forgo inexpensive goods to help ensure that my money goes to a company that treats its employees well.

Hi all. Meijer is no longer COMPLETELY discriminatory. Sexual Orientation is now protected. However, the union protected employees do not see that language in the contract yet, so legally there is no leg to stand on. I am pursuing the Union to get gender identity training for the stewards and domestic partner benefits for team members. It will certainly be easier in the next two or three years as Walmart and Target become greater threats to Meijer. Those already have more protections for employees.

I've avoided Meijer since they arrived in town.

Remember the pickets? Never crossed a picket line in my life. Doubt I ever will at this point.

They came to town with the expressed purpose of busting the UFCW Union.

They succeeded. Their market share continues to grow, sadly.