December 9, 2023

Diversity in Florida

Making strides: Seven Florida companies and their LGBT policies

Jason Garcia | 10/28/2015

Seven Florida companies graded on their policies toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees score 100%.

When the Human Rights Campaign first began ranking American businesses on their policies toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, just 13 out of the 319 companies that were evaluated earned a 100% score. The highest-ranking Florida companies, Orlando-based Darden Restaurants and Miami-based Ryder System, scored 71%.

Thirteen years later, 366 out of 781 companies rated by the civil-rights advocacy group earned 100% - including seven Florida firms.

Here's a closer look at how Florida companies rated:

About the Survey: The Human Rights Campaign is a 25-year-old advocacy group that is the largest organization in the country focused on promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. For the 2015 edition, the campaign rated 776 businesses. The firms either responded to a mailed survey or were rated based on research into their policies.

Companies were ranked based on four main criteria: 1. Providing equal benefits for samesex partners and spouses; 2. Ending benefit discrimination for transgender employees and dependents; 3. Demonstrating competency on LGBT issues (such as through internal training or employee resource groups); and 4. Demonstrating public commitment to the LGBT community (such as by supporting anti-discrimination legislation.)

100%: Florida Blue: No in-state company has taken on more of a leadership role in the push for LGBT employee rights than Florida Blue. The Jacksonville-based health insurer has organized a number of voluntary, internal employee resource groups that make regular presentations to management about issues of concern. One of those groups is called "RESPECT" and focuses specifically on LGBT employee issues. "I think it goes beyond just the individuals that are directly impacted," says Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty, who has agreed to serve as chairman of a group formed to lobby the Florida Legislature to pass a law prohibiting LGBT discrimination. "I think it speaks to who we are as people - that we are people who are open, people who are respectful of each other - and it creates an environment that I think people are interested in working in."

Also scoring 100%: Akerman, Carlton Fields, Darden Restaurants, Holland & Knight, Office Depot, Tech Data

90%: Adecco, Harris, Jarden, Raymond James

85%: Carnival, HSN, Ryder System

80%: Burger King, Royal Caribbean

70%: Bloomin Brands, CSX, NextEra

65%: Ultimate Software Group

55%: Hertz

45%: Winn-Dixie

30%: Fidelity National Financial, Health Management Associates, WellCare, World Fuel Services

15%: AutoNation: A spokesman for AutoNation says the firm never received the Human Rights Campaign survey. The company notes that it began offering health insurance three years ago to same-sex couples who married in a state where it was legal. It also says it has written policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, though not gender identity or expression. Also scoring 15%: Fidelity National Information Services, Jabil Circuit

0%: Publix: A Publix spokeswoman says the grocer does not participate in surveys but that it would have scored well in the Human Rights Campaign rankings if it did. Publix says it prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual discrimination, though not gender identity or expression. Like AutoNation, Publix also says it has been offering health insurance to same-sex spouses of employees married in states where marriage was legal, regardless of the employee's state of residence. It also extends certain "soft benefits" to employees with same-sex spouses, including the ability to take three days off to grieve the death of a spouse.

Note: FLORIDA TREND reached out to the four Florida companies that scored 15% or less. Representatives for Fidelity National Information Services and Jabil did not respond to requests for comment.

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