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Maryland companies get high marks for LGBT inclusion

Most of the Maryland companies mentioned in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2017 Corporate Equality Index received high scores for corporate policies that support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgener community.

The LGBT rights organization gave 11 Maryland companies, of the 14 included in the report, a grade of 95 or higher. Nine received a perfect score. Some companies, including Choice Hotels International Inc., DLA Piper, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Sodexo Inc. and WeddingWire also received a perfect score in last year’s report. The average score for Maryland was 84 percent.

“The unprecedented expansion of inclusive workplaces across the country and around the globe not only reflects our progress, it helps drive it,” HRC President Chad Griffin said. “As we enter a new chapter in our fight for equality, support from the business community will be more critical than ever to protect our historic advancements over the last decade and to continue to push equality forward for workers, customers, and families around the world.”

Since 2002, the HRC Foundation has put out a Corporate Equality Index (CEI) as way to look at corporate policies and practices related to workplace equality for LGBT people. This year’s report rated 887 companies, including 156 Fortune 500 companies and gave perfect scores to a record 517 businesses across the country in range of industries. The 100 percent score comes with the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”

The index rates companies and law firms based on five categories: non-discrimination policies, employment benefits, demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion, public commitment to LGBT equality and responsible citizenship.

The new record for companies that received a perfect score is even more notable because the index included a new criteria this year that required companies with international operations to extend protections against LGBT workers abroad.

Among Maryland companies, the largest score increase went to Baltimore’s favorite sports brand. Last year, Under Armour scored 20 percent. This year, the company got a 95 percent on the index, only losing five points in a category that measures engagement within the LGBT community, specifically looking at whether a company has internal guidelines prohibiting philanthropic giving to nonreligious organizations that discriminate against LGBT people, the report said.

“Just as our brand ethos is to stay driven and fearless in our efforts to make all athletes better, the same attitude is reflected internally—that our hunger to be the best and give our team the tools and environment to succeed continually drives us to create and empower a better workplace every day,” Under Armour Chief Human Resources Officer Kerry Chandler said.

McCormick & Co. saw a ten point increase in its score, only losing points for not having firm-wide organizational nondiscrimination training programs.

Among the lowest performers in Maryland, Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. had only 10 points, which is 10 points lower from its score a year ago. The company only received credit on the index for offering equivalent spousal and partner medical benefits, the report said. Host Hotels did not return a call requesting comment.

Discovery Communications received 20 points based on the index criteria. The HRC did its assesment using publicly available information as the HRC was not able to interact with the Discovery directly, said a spokeswoman for the campaign. Discovery also did not respond to a request for comment.

How Md. companies did on Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equity Index
Companies Score (out of 100)
Lockheed Martin Corp., T. Rowe Price, Sodexo, Choice Hotels International, Marriott International, CareFirst Inc., WeddingWire Inc., DLA Piper 100
Under Armour, Legg Mason 95
Constellation Energy Group, McCormick & Co. 80
Discovery Communications 20
Host Hotels & Resorts 10
Source: Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index 2017

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