More Employers Gay-Friendly Than Ever Before

September 20, 2005 ( - More large US companies in more industries have gay-inclusive policies than ever before, according to Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.

Reuters reports that the group said gay-inclusive policies used to be found mostly in financial and high-tech firms on the east and west coast, but now can be found in industries including defense, chemicals, and oil and gas.

The group’s fourth annual Corporate Equality Index turned up 101 companies with a perfect score when graded on their treatment of gay, lesbian, transsexual, and transgender workers, according to Reuters. This is almost double the 56 that received a perfect score in last year’s index, and almost five times the 21 who received a perfect score in their 2003 index (See More Companies “Ace” Gay Rights Survey ).

Raytheon Co. became the first defense contractor to receive a perfect score, Reuters reports. This year the company expanded its anti-discrimination policy to include transgender and transsexual employees, with the company’s president saying they are looking for a person’s talent and what they can contribute (See Raytheon Includes Transgender and Transsexual Workers in Policy ).

The group said there are still companies who actively resist equal treatment for gay, lesbian, transsexual, and transgender employees, mentioning specifically Exxon-Mobil in its report. Mobil had offered benefits to domestic partners and included sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy. But, when Exxon purchased Mobil in 1999, employees were brought under Exxon policy which had no domestic partner benefits and did not include sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy. A company spokesperson did say that those with domestic partner benefits prior to the purchase were allowed to keep their benefits (See Total Benefits: Partnering Up Laws Vs. Morals ).