score lore

HRC Finally Knocks Target, Best Buy + 3M With 15-Point Deductions. But Not For Anti-Gay Donations

The Human Rights Campaign’s ninth annaul Corporate Equality Index has been uploaded, and some 337 companies (up from 305!) managed a 100 percent score. Many of them have been quick to spit out press releases announcing the news, including SC Johnson, Cox Enterprises, and UPS. Not waving around the new PDF file? Target, Best Buy, and 3M, which all contributed at least $100,000 in cash to MN Forward’s effort to elect anti-gay Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, and who all (finally) lost the 15 points allotted for “Responsible Citizenship,” defined as “exhibit[ing] responsible behavior toward the LGBT community; does not engage in action that would undermine LGBT equality. Employers found engaging in activities that would undermine LGBT equality will have 15 points removed from their scores.” But not for the reason you’d think.

The companies weren’t penalized for their original donations. Instead, Target, Best Buy, and 3M “are being penalized under the existing CEI criteria not for the donation itself, but for failing to respond to significant community concerns” and choosing “to take no corrective action.” That is: Contributing money to help elect candidates who don’t believe in civil rights is not something that’ll hurt your HRC score, but failing to, say, contribute money to LGBT-friendly candidates as a counter balance? That will.

And so it remains in HRC’s way of doing things: They’ll still love their corporate abusers even after they make us bleed, so long as they say they’re sorry. Great to see the Corporate Equality Index is as misleading as ever.

Now one big round of applause for ExxonMobil, which succeeded in scoring another 0 percent rating! Last time that honor was shared only with the Laclede Group Inc., which this year jumped to a 48 percent score having “implemented a fully inclusive non-discrimination policy.”

(NB: We’d be remiss not to make explicit what HRC wants these scores to represent: “The CEI is not an award or overall ‘seal of approval.’ It is an effective tool that is designed for a specific purpose: to improve workplace conditions for LGBT people by encouraging corporations to adopt pro-LGBT policies for their workforces.”)

Target + Best Buy Prove HRC’s Corporate Scoring Is Wholly Flawed. Is It Also Meaningless?
And Your Boycott of Target Can Remain Forever: Don’t Expect Them to Donate Any Money to Pro-LGBT Candidates

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    Not to mention labor issues, environment, war profiteers, etc.

  • Michael

    Does it really matter what the HRC thinks? I do not feel like I need to consult or have permission from the HRC, or the BBB for that matter, as to where to spend my money. If you do not like their work, do not give them money, stage a boycott, write blogs.

  • Cam

    I find it facinating that HRC, an organization that really pushes the idea that all of our rights need to be achieved through lobbying, donations and support to their organization and the right candidates rather than by the court system or protests….would then put out a scoring system that does not take lobbying and donations into consideration.

    Are they protecting these organizations or are their employees really that bad that judging others on the criteria their own organization supposedly runs on never occured to them.

  • ek

    The questionnaire that is sent out to these companies is approved by the Board of Directors months in advance and the effects of Citizens United were not fully understood yet and by the time they were, it was too late for this years CEI. Prior to CU direct donations to candidates and PACs by corporations were not an issue. How the CEI is used in the future will include donations to candidates and PACs by corporations.

  • chris

    As a person that works in HR diversity I thought that the HRC CEI was about the employee policies we had in place. Not about political donations. I didnot read anthing about political donations in the criteria. The issue here is with Citizens United not the CEI measure.

    What are other organizations who take contributions from Target doing? The Pride organizations? Out and Equal Workplace Advocates? LA Gay and Lesbian Center?

  • Michael

    @chris: What are they doing? They are not turning down money for one thing, sources notwithstanding.

  • Kurt

    This is not the primary flaw in HRC’s rating system. The biggest problem is they give equal weight to a company that has a binding, enforcable non-discrimination policy and a company that just makes a claim they don’t discrimination with no means for a worker to call the company on it when discriminated.

    They falsely lead a lot of employee to think they are protected when they are not.

  • S

    With regard to the HRC:

    I once had an email correspondence with them regarding the CEI. I suggested that since so many companies clearly prized a score of “100”, HRC was in a position to ensure that any given policy would become more commonplace merely by assigning it the token value of 5 points.

    Their responses led me to conclude that the HRC was less interested in expanding LGBT protections and more in keeping the donating corporations happy. I inferred that the CEI was, at least to some extent (I suggest everyone conclude on her/his own how much) a way for donors to obtain the HRC’s “endorsement”. I don’t know if it started out that way, but MY IMPRESSION (my opinion only, others’ might differ) is that that’s the way it is now.

    As regards Best Buy:

    I had to make a sizable electronics purchase several months ago (before the Brouhaha over political contributions). Before I made the final decision, I familiarized myself with the return policies of various vendors.

    Best Buy has a very large selection, but this comes from their website –

    Best Buy Discretion

    Best Buy reserves the right to deny any return.

    I compared that to Costco’s 90 day no questions asked return policy.

    For me, this alone is sufficient to choose a merchant other than Best Buy. I have not set foot in any BB since.

  • SNT

    HRC doesn’t want the lose $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ From these companies… Joe is protecting his job… Plain and simple

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