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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
July 27, 2007

Most large firms now have gay job bias rules, report finds

Washington, D.C.--Almost 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies now include sexual orientation in their antidiscrimination policies, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s latest report on workplace issues.

Over half of the companies now offer domestic partner benefits, and fifteen times as many companies now include gender identity in anti-bias codes than did in 2003. A full 25 percent of Fortune 500 companies now protect transgender employees.

Ohio companies on the Fortune 500 got a mixed report card, however.

Six companies did not include either sexual orientation or gender identity in their equal employment policies, and also did not offer domestic partner benefits to employees.

They are AK Steel Holding Corporation of Middletown, American Financial Group of Cincinnati, Hexion Specialty Chemicals of Columbus, Lubrizol Corporation of Wickliffe, the Timken Company of Canton and Western and Southern Financial Group of Cincinnati.

Only three Ohio entries on the list of top companies offer protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and domestic partner benefits: Owens Corning in Toledo, NCR in Dayton and Nationwide in Columbus. They are also the only three Ohio companies offering gender identity protection at all.

Eleven companies only offer equal employment opportunity protections on sexual orientation, and seven more offer domestic partner benefits as well as protections based on sexual orientation.

Progressive, Procter & Gamble, Limited Brands, KeyCorp, Federated Department Stores, the Eaton Corporation and Cardinal Health all offer domestic partner benefits as a complement to their protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual employees.

American Electric Power Company, Big Lots, Cinergy, the Dana Corporation, Fifth Third Bancorp, First Energy, Goodyear, Kroger, National City, Owns-Illinois and Parker Hannifin all offer protections based on sexual orientation.

On the US News and World Report list of the top 125 colleges and universities, all five schools in Ohio that made the grade offer at least anti-bias protections based on sexual orientation. In fact, the University of Dayton is the only one on the magazine’s list with that stand-alone protection.

Miami University and Ohio University both offer LGB anti-bias protections and domestic partner benefits, while Case Western Reserve University and Ohio State University offer full LGBT protections and domestic partner benefits.

Seventeen other Ohio schools, which didn’t make the U.S. News list, also have at least an anti-bias rule.

“It took the gay civil rights movement nearly two decades to see the growth that the transgender community has seen in the last five years in terms of workplace protections,” said HRC president Joe Solmonese. “Fortune 500 companies are moving decisively to protect the entire LGBT community from workplace discrimination and it is time for our nation’s laws to catch up.”

The report, “State of the Workplace for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Americans 2006-2007,” is available on the HRC’s web site, www.hrc.org, as is an interactive database of workplaces and their job policies.

 

 

 

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