Same sex marriage has been one of the main stories on the news lately. Whether you're for it or against it, the coverage has sparked much debate about gay rights and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Although there are several companies that have come out publicly in support of, or in opposition to, the issue, much of corporate America hasn't had much to say about it one way or the other.
The reason is that, for many large corporations, the issue isn't complicated and it doesn't have any impact on their practices. While the laws that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination vary from state to state, there are many companies that have adopted their own policies to support their employees – no matter who they chose to love.
In fact, there are quite a few companies that already offer benefits for same sex domestic partners and treat their gay employee's partners as a spouse. Here are a list of the top five gay-friendly companies to work for:
American Airlines – In 1995, American Airlines launched the Rainbow campaign and created a website dedicated to serve the LGBT community. Because many gay people were concerned about discrimination while traveling with their partner, the airline worked to show their commitment to non-discrimination. In fact the Human Rights Campaign has consistently given them a perfect score on workplace equality.
Apple, Inc. - Apple has also been given a perfect score by the HRC for their treatment of LGBT employees. Recently, the company has been an outright supporter of same sex marriage and even donated $100,000 to the cause in California.
J.C. Penney – Earlier this year, J.C. Penney partnered with national talk show host and gay rights advocate, Ellen DeGeneres, to promote their products. In spite of receiving negative feedback from pro-family groups, they have begun including pictures of same sex couples and families in their advertising. Although the company offers benefits for domestic partners, they don't provide equal coverage for transgendered people, which prevents them for receiving a perfect score from the HRC.
Microsoft – The HRC consistently ranks Microsoft as one of the best companies for workplace equality. Also, in 1993, the company launched Gleem, a resource for their LGBT employees.
Levi-Strauss and Co. - This company has been committed to workplace equality for a very long time. In 2009, they launched a line called white ribbon jeans in support of gay marriage. In 2010, they were honored at the GLADD awards for their television ad campaign that celebrated Gay History Month. They also provide same sex partner benefits.
Although sexual orientation discrimination still happens, many of the largest companies in the world have begun to make a commitment to workplace equality. Still, for gay employees, there's still a long way to go.
What do you think about this list? What other companies should be on this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Image Source: Levi-Strauss and Co.
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