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LGBT employees welcome at big banks and law firms, report says

December 12, 2011 | 10:16 am

Rainbow flag

The corporate world -- especially at law firms and big banks –- is a much better place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees than it was a decade ago, according to a new report from LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

When the Corporate Equality Index was first calculated in 2002 to check major American companies for policies mandating equal treatment of workers regardless of sexual orientation, just 13 businesses of 319 had a perfect score. This year, with even more criteria, 190 companies out of 636 participants landed a 100% rating.

That included 55 law firms and 22 banks and financial services such as Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Consulting companies did well, as did retailers and those in the food-beverage-grocery sector. Other companies with 100% ratings included AT&T Inc. and Ford Motor Co.

Transportation and travel businesses had few perfect scorers. Oil and gas companies, as well as mining and metal firms, also did not have many scorers at the top. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had a 60% rating, as did General Electric Co. Exxon Mobil Corp. scored a -25%.

The majority of participants scored above 80%, with many more firms now offering nondiscrimination policies that included both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity," medical benefits that don’t distinguish between spouses and partners, and healthcare that factors in transgender needs.

Human Rights Campaign invited publicly traded companies from the Fortune 1000 list as well as firms in the top 200 of American Lawyer magazine’s rankings. Any private employer with at least 500 full-time U.S. employees could also ask to be included.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo credit: Felipe Dana / Associated Press

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