Five Florida companies receive perfect scores for LGBT equality

By : Susan Clary
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Washington, D.C. – Five Florida companies top the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2014 Corporate Equality Index, which ranks Fortune 1000 companies on their broad commitment to LGBT equality.

Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater, Carlton Fields law firm in Tampa and Darden Restaurants Inc. in Orlando all scored a perfect 100. Rounding out the list of perfect scores for Florida companies are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida Inc. in Jacksonville and Office Depot Inc. in Boca Raton.

“We are proud to be a place where we try to treat everyone equally,” said Nancy Faggianelli, Chief Diversity Officer for Carlton Fields. “We think diversity leads to better work product, benefits our clients and benefits us as employees of the firm.”

Every year, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) measures hundreds of businesses around the country for their corporate commitment to equality. Points are earned for various benchmarks like having a non-discrimination policy, demonstrating a public commitment to diversity and offering equal benefits for same sex partners and spouses.

In its 12th year, the 2014 Corporate Equality Index is sometimes used as a guide to help LGBT people and their allies make decisions about what businesses to support and which companies have LGBT-friendly employment practices.

For 2013, a record 304 businesses earned a top score of 100 and the distinction of being list as a “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.” That compares to just 13 in 2002, the first year of the index.

New Florida businesses that joined the list this year are: Outback Steakhouse in Tampa, Home Shopping Network in Clearwater and Winn-Dixie in Jacksonville.

“We have been doing a lot of work in Florida and we’re not just talking about equality for LGBT people,” said Deena Fidas, director of the Workplace Equality Program for the HRC. “Inclusive employers have a broader appeal and, with changing public opinion, workplace fairness is key.”

Of Fortune 500 companies, 91 percent provide explicit protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 61 percent on the basis of gender identity, 67 percent offer same-sex partner benefits and 28 percent offer health care benefits for transgender employees.

“Tech Data is proud to earn a perfect score for the ninth straight year,” said Caryl Lucarelli, vice president of Human Resources at Tech Data. “We are recognized as the only distributor in the IT channel with a perfect score on this important list, we strive to set an example for the industry as well as our local community.”

By industry, law firms dominated the list with 81 scoring 100 percent, followed by 36 in the category of banking and financial services. Industries with just one company earning a perfect score include: oil and gas, real estate, publishing, mining and metals, home furnishings, transportation and travel.

This marks the eighth time the Fortune 1000 list of largest publicly traded companies was invited to take part in the Corporate Equality Index survey. The Fortune 500 list has been invited each year since 2002.

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