by Max Brantley
The Human Rights Campaign (headed by Arkansas native Chad Griffin) has issued its annual survey of major businesses' policies and practices on sexual orientation issues. The news is generally good. The number of corporations achieving perfect scores in the ranking increased from 189 to 252 and 13 of the 20 largest companies met that standard.
For example: General Motors, Chevron, AT&T, Citigroup, Apple, Bank of America, Comcast, eBay, General Mills, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Nike, United Airlines, Walgreens and Walt Disney were among those listed as "Best Places to Work for LGBT equality."
No Arkansas major corporations are on that list of best places, sorry to say.
On the 100-point scale, Tyson Foods finished with a 15, Dillard Department Stores with 30 and Walmart with 60. Of those three, only Walmart responded to the survey. HRC depended on public documents for grading on the non-respondents.
All three Arkansas corporations received 15 points each for having policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Dillard and Walmart both were credited for 15 points for prohibiting discrimination based on on gender identity.
Walmart's other points came from a half-credit for extending some company employment benefits to same-sex partners; for having an employee resource group or diversity council, and for "positively engaging" the LGBT community.
Griffin wrote in the introduction to the report:
Despite the fact that people can be legally denied a job or fired simply for their sexual orientation in 29 states and their gender identity in 34, our corporate allies have surged well ahead of lagging legislation to afford these protections.
Arkansas remains among the states, of course, where discrimination on account of sexual orientation or gender identity remains legal.