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Corporations and straight folks support workplace equality for lesbians and gays

Findings from fourth annual the latest national Out & Equal Workplace Summit survey are going to be presented in Denver, Colorado on Thursday, and the news is good — if you’re not a right-wing asshat. This should make some Freeper heads explode. (Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications):

* 76% of heterosexual adults strongly agree that employees should be measured by their job performance, not their sexual orientation

* More than half (55%) of heterosexual adults feel that regardless of sexual orientation, all employees are entitled to equal benefits on the job, such as health insurance for their partners or spouses.

The survey also shows that in the last three years, heterosexuals and LGBT adults increasingly consider diversity to be an important factor when deciding which company to work for.

* Nearly seven out of 10 (69%) heterosexuals consider it extremely or very important that a company offer equal health insurance benefits for all employees, compared to 57 percent in 2002.

* Fifty-seven (57%) of heterosexuals consider it extremely or very important that a company have a written non-discrimination policy that includes race, ethnicity, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation and disability, compared to only 43 percent in 2002.

* Almost nine out of 10 (88%) LGBT adults consider it extremely or very important that a company have a written non-discrimination policy that includes race, ethnicity, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation and disability, compared to 66 percent in 2002.

* More than eight out of 10 (81%) LGBT adults consider it extremely or very important that a company offers equal health insurance benefits for all employees, compared to 71 percent in 2002.

“Regardless of how Americans feel about LGBT issues, majorities still support fair treatment for their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peers in the workplace,” said Selisse Berry, executive director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. “Employers are demonstrating leadership in providing parity for LGBT people, helping all employees understand the value of diversity in the workforce.”

In addition, the survey also found that LGBT adults are more comfortable with “being out” at the workplace today as compared to 2002 when the same survey questions were asked for the first time.

* Sixty-nine percent (69%) now report that they are comfortable – including those saying “extremely comfortable” (31%), “very comfortable” (13%) and “comfortable” (25%) – discussing their “after work” social life, including details about who they share time with, such as spouses, dates, friends or partners in their current or most recent job, compared to 53 percent overall – including those who said “extremely comfortable” (11%), “very comfortable” (24%) and “comfortable” (18%) – who said this in 2002.

The online survey involved 2,242 U.S. adults, six percent self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

***

Also released today is the Human Right Campaign 2005 Corporate Equality Index, which “rates Fortune 500 and other major companies on a scale from zero to 100 percent on seven key indicators of fair treatment for GLBT employees. Indicators include policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as equal health care benefits.” Some of these findings:

* A record 101 companies score 100 percent, which is attributed to a sharp increase in gender identity non-discrimination policies. In 2002, only 13 companies earned a perfect rating.

* Today, 5.6 million people work at the 101 companies that score 100 percent. In 2002, approximately 690,000 people were employed by the 13 companies that scored 100 percent.

* Eighty-one percent of scored companies offer health benefits to the domestic partners of employees, up from 70 percent in 2002.

100 percent ratings: companies that fully support workplace equality for LGBT employees
— Prudential Financial
— IBM
— defense giant Raytheon (a first for its industry)
— BP and Chevron (the first oil companies to hit this mark)
— Dow Chemical — also the first in its industry to do so
— Citigroup
— J.P. Morgan Chase
— Met Life, which touts its 100 rating in a press release

Black hat corporations — shown to be actively working against equality include:
* Emerson Electric with a 29 percent score
* Entergy with 36 percent
* Exxon Mobil with 14 percent
* Perot Systems with a 14 percent score.

In electronics retail:
— Best Buy offers full protections to GLBT employees
— Circuit City holds a 43 percent score
— Radio Shack scores only a 29 percent rating.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding