Report Summary Written by Jacqui May, Ph.D.
Eighteen years ago, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Workplace Equity Program conducted their first national review of workplace policies and procedures pertinent to LGBTQ equality and inclusion.
Today, over 1,000 American businesses demonstrate their commitment to LGBTQ workers by participating in the annual HRC Corporate Equality Index (CEI) scoring process. This rating system is intended to serve as a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to LGBTQ employees. The HRC CEI also serves as a primary driving-force for workplace inclusion worldwide.
The rating criteria focuses on non-discrimination policies across business entities, including workforce protections, equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families, and supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility.
Florida’s Top Scorers
The 2020 report resulted in 686 American corporations receiving a top score of 100 points, earning them the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” Nineteen of these top-rated companies are headquartered in the Sunshine State:
- The following law firms all maintained 100 scores from 2018:
- Akerman (Miami)
- Carlton Fields (Tampa)
- Holland & Knight (Brandon)
- In the transportation and travel sector, the following companies achieved a score of 100:
- Carnival Corp (Miami)
- Hertz Global Holdings (Estero)
- Royal Caribbean (Miami) – an improvement from 90 the year prior.
- Banking and Finance companies with top scores were
- Raymond James Financial (St. Petersburg)
- Fidelity National Information Services (Jacksonville)
- Seacoast National Bank (Stuart)
- Computer and data service companies leading the way with high marks were:
- Citrix Systems (Ft. Lauderdale)
- Tech Data Corp (Clearwater)
- Black Knight Inc (Jacksonville) – a jump of 30 points from their 2018 rating.
- Rounding-out Florida’s highest-rated corporations were:
- Aerospace firm L3 Harris Technology (Melbourne)
- Retail giant Office Depot (Boca Raton)
- WellCare Health Plans insurance (Tampa)
- Miami-based Restaurant Brands and Univision Communications.
- Wyndham Destinations of Orlando increased by 5 points to take home a top score and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida insurance company rose to 100 from 85 points in 2018.
As Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David remarked, “These companies know that protecting their LGBT employees and customers from discrimination is not just the right thing to do – it’s the best business decision…businesses understand that LGBTQ employees and customers deserve to be seen, valued and respected not only at work, but in every aspect of daily life.”
Several Florida companies adjusted their policies and procedures to increase their 2019 scores:
- Chico’s FAS, Inc (Fort Myers) went from a score of 0 in 2018 to 75 in 2019 and Jacksonville’s CSX Corporation increased from 70 to 80 points.
- Corporations with consistent scores in 2018/2019 were: Darden Restaurants (Orlando) 90 points, Ultimate Software (Weston) 90 points, Ryder Systems (Miami) with 80, and at 50 points for the second year in-a-row were restaurant giants Bloomin’ Brands (Tampa) and utility company NextEra Energy (Juno Beach).
- Jacksonville – based Winn-Dixie Stores slipped from 35 points in 2018 to 30 in 2019.
Florida Companies That Declined Invitations
A number of Florida-based companies declined invitations from HRC to participate in the survey. However, they were scored based on publicly available information and data submitted by individual employees or employee groups:
With 20 points in 2018 and 2019 were Fidelity National Financial Corp (Jacksonville); Jabil Circuit, Inc. (St. Petersburg); and Miami companies Lennar Corp, and World Fuel Services. Construction firm MasTec (Coral Gables) made the list with a score of 10. Lakeland-based Publix Supermarkets received a “zero” score for the second year.
For the full Corporate Equality Index 2020 report, click here.