The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today released the 2015 Corporate Equality Index, an annual report assessing LGBT inclusion in major companies and law firms across the nation, including 26 in Ohio.

Corporate America, propelled by the HRC and its foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI), has led the way on LGBT inclusion for more than a decade. As the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, the 2015 CEI unveiled that a record 366 businesses – spanning nearly every industry and geography — earned a top score of 100 percent and the coveted distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”

In total, 781 companies were officially rated in the 2015 CEI, up from 734 in the 2014 report. The report also unofficially rated 190 Fortune 500 companies who have yet to respond to the CEI survey about their LGBT policies and practices. The average score for companies and law firms based in Ohio is 84 percent. Of the 26 companies ranked, 13 earned 100 percent, 4 earned 90 percent or above, and 3 earned 80 percent or above.

“When it comes to LGBT equality, Corporate America is a leader, not a follower,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “At every turn, from advocating for marriage equality to providing vital support for transgender employees, this country's leading companies have asked, 'what more can we do?,' and they've worked tirelessly to achieve new progress. That kind of leadership changes countless lives around this country, and sets an important example to other companies around the globe."                                        

Griffin cautions, however, that despite steady progress, LGBT workers still face major obstacles.

“Too many companies still don't guarantee these vital workplace protections, and too many LGBT people--transgender people in particular--face high rates of unemployment and discrimination in hiring, keeping them from ever getting a foot in the door in the first place," he said.

Key national findings contained in the 2015 CEI:

  • 366 companies earned a 100 percent in the 2015 CEI, up from 304 in the 2014 report, and 189 2 years ago.
  • 89 percent of participants now cover gender identity in their non-discrimination policies, up from 86 percent last year.
  • 66 percent of all Fortune 500 companies have gender identity protections, up from 61 percent last year.
  • 190 Fortune 500 companies were given unofficial scores based on publicly available information.

Just as the CEI has successfully steered the country’s top corporations, law firms and their influential leaders toward breaking new ground in workplace equality -- from enacting LGBT non-discrimination policies to extending same-sex partner benefits -- it has also helped companies move toward full inclusion for their transgender employees. 418 companies participating in this year’s CEI now offer transgender workers at least one health care plan that has transgender-inclusive coverage. That’s a 22 percent increase since 2012, when the CEI criteria first included trans-inclusive health care as a requisite for companies to receive a perfect score.

The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories:

  1. Non-discrimination policies
  2. Employment benefits
  3. Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion
  4. Public commitment to LGBT equality
  5. Responsible citizenship

The full report, including a searchable employer database is available online at