workplace

How Did a Company That Offers Health Benefits For Gay Partners Wind Up on HRC’s List of Worst Companies?

Like GLAAD does for the media, the Human Rights Campaign charges itself, every year, with policing. For GLAAD, it’s the media; for HRC, it’s the American workplace. Which companies are LGBT friendly?, it asks, and then puts together a list of American businesses that provide things like health benefits for same-sex partners, anti-discrimination policies, have LGBT employee groups, and advertise to the gay market. It’s called the 2010 Corporate Equality Index, and some “305 businesses received top ratings.” Which also means some businesses received terrible ratings. But of the tens of thousands of giant companies out there, how did some of these firms — which actually do have ssome LGBT offerings — manage to end up bottoming for HRC?

Rightly so, there are companies like AutoZone, the auto parts store, appearing on HRC’s shitlist that even this website has gone after for hating on the gays.

But then there are firms like Avnet, the computer products distributor, which “tied for tenth-worst in the study with an index score of 30.” Except Avnet does, in fact, offer same-sex partner health insurance; it just doesn’t have a sexuality/gender identity anti-discrimination policy. Which means HRC’s survey of American businesses has placed this Pheonix-based company, with 12,000 employees, at the bottom of its list when it does, in fact, offer some LGBT-friendly employee perks?

Surely there are at least 10 firms in these United States that offer LGBT employees absolutely nothing? No shared health benefits, no anti-discrimination policies, and perhaps even a cubicle environment where words like “fag” get tossed around? Sounds like HRC’s methodology — or sample size — needs as much retooling as AutoZone’s employee handbook.

(NB: Avnet’s homepage does feature a pair of twinkling red slippers, which should up their HRC score by at least two points, no?)