A handful of grocery retailers from around the nation received perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign's 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which reports on corporate policies related to LGBTQ equality.
This year, 571 businesses earned the CEI’s top score of 100, including six grocers and Amazon.com. The grocers most committed to protecting LGBTQ rights, according to the survey, are The Kroger Co., Walmart Inc. and Ahold Delhaize USA’s regional brands, including Food Lion, Giant Food Stores, Giant Food and Hannaford. Additionally, Meijer received a score of 90 and Costco scored 60 on the index.
The CEI ranks companies based on equality efforts in four categories: nondiscrimination policies; employment benefits; supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility, including public commitment to LGBTQ equality; and responsible citizenship. In order to receive a perfect score, companies were required to maintain domestic partnership benefits for both same- and different-sex couples and explicitly include LGBTQ-owned suppliers in supplier diversity programs.
Gordon Reid, president of Landover, Md.-based Giant Food, said he “is extremely proud to earn 100% on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index for the policies and practices we put into place across our stores. At Giant, we are committed to diversity and embracing an inclusive workplace that represents the cultures, backgrounds and experiences of our communities.”
Matt Lutcavage, VP of human resources for Giant Food, explained that the retailer has had a “long-standing commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive environment in which our associates and customers are treated fairly and with respect at all times.”
According to the survey, 16.8 million U.S. employees are protected from sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination by a corporate policy. The number of Fortune 500 companies incorporating gender identity as part of their nondiscrimination policies has skyrocketed from 3% in 2002 to 85%.
Additionally, more than 500 major employers have adopted inclusion guidelines for transgender employees who are transitioning. Eighty-three percent of companies that participated in this year’s survey offered at least one healthcare policy that is inclusive of transgender employees, and 73% met new criteria that requires the removal of all blanket exclusions of medically necessary care for transgender workers from all health policies offered by an employer.
“The top-scoring companies on this year’s CEI are not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the United States, they are applying these policies to their global operations and impacting millions of people beyond our shores,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a statement. "Many of these companies have also become vocal advocates for equality in the public square, including the dozens that have signed on to amicus briefs in vital Supreme Court cases and the more than 170 that have joined HRC's Business Coalition for the Equality Act. Time and again, leading American businesses have shown that protecting their employees and customers from discrimination isn't just the right thing to do—it's also good for business.”