Overall, 1,067 private employers and colleges and universities added domestic partner benefits in 2003, including 25 of the Fortune 500. Thus, at the end of 2003, a total of 200 Fortune-listed companies offered domestic partner health insurance benefits, according to the research arm of gay rights advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
In its report “The State of the Workplace for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans 2003” HRC found the number of private employers offering domestic partner benefits rose by 18% in 2003, the same rate as in 2002. Further, HRC found 12 cities and counties added health care benefits for public employees’ same-sex partners in 2003, bringing the total at year end to 175, a 12% increase.
Companies are also expanding non-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian and transgender employees, the report found. Seventy-two percent of the Fortune 500 companies included sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies at the end of 2003. This compares to 333 in 2002, an 8% increase. Additionally, 11 Fortune 500 companies modified their non-discrimination policies to include gender identity and/or expression, bringing the total to 26. This compares to 15 in 2002, a 73% increase.
“Companies across America continue to recognize that a key to success is treating employees equally,” said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. “By adding benefits and protections during a stormy economy, the private sector continues to demonstrate that treating employees fairly is good for the bottom line.”
A copy of the report is available at www.hrc.org .