Minnesota corporations score high on HRC Equality Index


The Human Rights Campaign released its annual corporate equality index (CEI) just in time for Black Friday. The index scores corporate policies on LGBT inclusion and then ranks them, though the ranking system has encountered criticism for its methodology.

Fifteen Minnesota companies garnered perfect scores on the index: 3M Co., Ameriprise Financial Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Cargill Inc., Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Ecolab Inc., General Mills Inc., Hormel Foods Corp., Land O’Lakes Inc., Lindquist & Vennum LLP, Medtronic PLC, RBC Wealth Management, Robins Kaplan LLP, Target Corp., and U.S. Bancorp all received 100 percent.

Seventeen Minnesota-based companies earned 100 percent on the list in 2014. Three companies in the top last year slipped slightly in 2015: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota (95), St. Jude Medical Inc. (95), UnitedHealth Group Inc. (95), and Xcel Energy Inc. (90).

Hormel jumped in the rankings earning 30 points from last year to get a perfect score.

Other companies on the index included Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America (85), Carlson, Inc. (85), Mosaic Co. (85), Thrivent Financial (85), Supervalu Inc. (80), Mayo Clinic (65), Imation Corp. (60), Caribou Coffee Company Inc. (50), and Patterson Companies (Patterson Dental Supply) (40).

While the index has been seen as a gold standard of an inclusive workplace by corporations, the index has faced criticism from many quarters. Part of the criticism comes from HRC’s decision not to factor in union-busting efforts of the companies on the index, nor a look at how these multinational corporations differ in the LGBT policies outside the U.S.

Pride at Work released a statement about the index criticizing the lack of labor issues.

“It is our position that any company that takes action to stall, stymie, or otherwise undermine the efforts of their workers to unionize is preventing LGBTQ working people from achieving the full non-discrimination protections federal – and most state – law currently doesn’t provide,” Pride at Work Executive Director Jerame Davis stated. “LGBTQ working people receive far more protection under an inclusive union contract than they do under any existing state law.”

The Washington Blade also asked activists about the index, including the fact that it doesn’t take into account anti-LGBT corporate policies outside the United States.

“A global index is useless unless it measures how companies take human rights into account in their deals with homophobes and dictators,” Scott Long, a former Human Rights Watch staffer, told the Blade. “And to measure that, the Human Rights Campaign would need to take human rights more seriously — drop the narrow focus on paper policies, look at companies’ broad records and analyze the rights implications of where the money goes.”

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