Why It Gets Better: Southern Companies Evolving on Equality

Huffington Post is reporting on some marked improvement for traditionally conservative companies in the area of equality:

In the early 90s, Southern restaurant chain Cracker Barrel drew criticism from gay-rights activists for firing openly gay employees under a policy that required workers to display “normal heterosexual values which have been the foundation of families in our society.”

The company’s policies largely reflected the times. Sodomy was still a crime, and it was legal in many parts of the country — and continues to be today — to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. But experts say that Cracker Barrel’s stance has evolved, a sign that the movement’s victories go beyond the big cities of the coasts and the Midwest.

In an annual survey assessing corporate practices relevant to LGBT employees published this week by Human Rights Campaign, Cracker Barrel was given a score of 45 out of 100, a 10-point boost from the previous year. The survey from the national gay rights group examines the largest businesses in the United States, and gives a score based on a range of practices, including drafting an anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and creating LGBT employee affinity groups.

While a ten point jump and a score of 45 may not seem all that terrific when there are companies that are earning 100 percent, the move from firing gay people to, as noted in the article, “adding LGBT content to its employee training seminars, participating in local LGBT educational events, and trying to recruit more LGBT employees and partner with LGBT-owned companies” shows a willingness to improve, and that a organization is headed in the right direction.

If that is not enough to show why it gets better, consider this. When the Corporate Equality Index study was first done in 2012 only 13 companies scored 100%. In the 2014 version, 304 companies scored 100%. That’s an increase of 2300% in just over a decade. When you take into account that the criteria to earn 100% includes offering partner health and medical benefits as well as Transgender inclusive health insurance coverage you can see that we really are moving forward and it is getting better.

Read the full article

View the 2014 HRC Corporate Quality Index

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