Last week we noted the various LGBT-friendly businesses nationwide that were, in our opinion, deserving of our queer dollars this holiday season. Whether by specifically catering to an LGBT clientele with designated products, including ‘out’ people in their promotional campaigns, or offering protections for queer employees, they (among the many others not included in our short list) are widely considered to be inclusive, and therefore, worthwhile of our time and money. I’m looking at you, Apple. Oh heeeeey, Tim Cook. #Daddy
But we must also acknowledge that there are some companies that aren’t necessarily doing much to show corporate love to LGBT folks both in front of and/or behind the cash register either because of ignorance or indirect prejudice. In fact, that’s exactly why the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign, initially launched its annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI). While the survey outlines and ranks the best places for LGBT employees (with help from the actual companies themselves after answering pointed questions about their human resources policies), the corresponding results implicitly inform us of their views on queer patrons. Then again, the value of a buck doesn’t change if it’s in a gay person’s hand. At least I don’t think.
That being said, I referred to HRC’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index to determine which businesses received the lowest scores this year. Plus, I focused primarily on those that holiday shoppers would frequent this month when buying gifts either for themselves or their loved ones. Whether you decide to boycott, inform, or abandon these establishments is up to you.
Now the first four companies scored a 10 out of a possible 100 on the CEI. According to HRC’s website, that means that they each have a non-discrimination policy that explicitly protects gay and lesbian employees in both their U.S. and global operations. But that’s about it. Nothing for their transgender counterparts. Just a basic, “eh, we won’t fire you” if you’re cisgender.
The remaining corporations, though, received a 0 on the CEI.
The Trump Organization
That’s failing with a capital F, y’all. You should definitely note that one of those is the Trump Organization, which, depending on if you believe him, may or may not still be led by our new president-elect. Yes, the same president-elect whose vice presidential pick believes we can turn straight with shock therapy and that we should be denied basic goods and services because of someone else’s religious beliefs.
A 0 means that, unlike the first four businesses, these companies don’t have protections for ANY LGBT workers, including those coming from a third-party contractor or vendor. This is all legally sound since Congress never passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (despite numerous attempts), and it still refuses to consider a broader piece of legislation known as the Equality Act. So while we, as LGBT people, frown upon this fact, it’s still technically OK to get away with in a post-Trump election.
Along with not providing detailed protections for their LGBT employees, these companies also don’t provide domestic partner health insurance (like dental and vision) or parity in soft benefits (including relocation assistance, bereavement leave, and joint/survivor annuity). They also neglect to offer equal health coverage for trans employees, especially those seeking help when mulling sex-reassignment surgery and a full transition.
HRC’s Corporate Equality Index also found that although the following businesses did NOT engage in any homophobic activity, they lacked the resources to both establish training sessions on LGBT cultural competency AND create a safe space for LGBT employees with an affinity group. They also failed to engage in inclusive marketing or sponsor pro-gay events. That’s a direct contrast from last week’s Top Ten Best Businesses for Queer Shoppers, which each assisted in Pride this year.
As you can imagine, national businesses that harbor negative feelings toward LGBT people are incredibly hard to uncover. And I will be clear in saying that neither of those listed above have vocalized hatred toward the LGBT community. But now you’re fully aware of how they operate behind the scenes. So don’t forget to carry that information with you in your wallet or purse this December.