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Friday, March 19, 2010

HRC honors employers for LGBT equality

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, celebrated with its Sixth Annual LGBT Workplace Awards Seminar and Reception Wednesday night to honor 305 employers as the 2010 “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”  The event, held at the Time Warner Center in New York City and hosted by Time Warner, featured Don Lemon, anchor and reporter for CNN, and special guest Tim Gunn, CEO of Liz Claiborne, Inc. and host of “Project Runway.”

“We’re happy to honor these companies who have taken strong actions that constitutes tangible, significant civil rights progress,” said Joe Solmonese, president, Human Rights Campaign. “With our recent launch of our ‘Best Places to Work’ iPhone application and with other resources coming soon, anyone, anywhere at anytime will be able to find out how a company ranks on LGBT inclusion. By mandating equal opportunity in hiring, ensuring equal compensation through medical and family benefits, and promoting informed work forces and equal work places, these companies continue to push progress forward. The federal law has to catch up.”

Companies receiving the honor scored 100 percent on the HRC Foundation’s 2010 Corporate Equality Index, which serves as a national standard to evaluate policies, practices and diversity efforts regarding LGBT workers. The Index measures factors such as non-discrimination policies, benefits, diversity training and other internal resources for LGBT workers, as well as external support for LGBT job seekers and customers. Released in September, the 2010 Corporate Equality Index report can be downloaded at A full list of the 2010 “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality is available at

Credit Suisse and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants each received both the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” honor and the 2010 “Innovation Award for Workplace Equality.” The latter honors a specific program that a business has implemented to further LGBT inclusion in their workplaces. Criteria for the award include degree of innovation, originality and senior leadership support for fair treatment of its LGBT workers.

Credit Suisse was recognized for its “Open Perspectives” program, which educates LGBT MBA students about being “out” in their careers within the financial services sector and more specifically, how Credit Suisse’s culture supports LGBT employees. The other recipient, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, received the award for its work in creating a model health insurance policy that includes coverage for transgender employees.

“We are both thrilled and humbled that the Human Rights Campaign Foundation selected Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants for its Workplace Equality Innovation Award,” said Niki Leondakis, chief operating officer, Kimpton. “At Kimpton, we are committed to a culture that includes everyone, one that celebrates the individuality of our guests and employees alike. As a result, we have the unique vantage point of our entire employee base that has helped us build our LGBT program and offerings.”

This is the second year that HRC has honored companies with this award. Learn more about the Innovation Award for Workplace Equality and the winning programs at


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