WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released its 2017 Corporate Equality Index and Carolina companies have made the grade.

Included are (company/city/state/score in percentage): Delhaize America Inc. (parent company of Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C., 100); Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (Durham, N.C., 100); Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (Taylorsville, N.C., 100); Moore & Van Allen PLLC (Charlotte, N.C., 100); Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP (Winston-Salem, N.C., 100); Ingersoll-Rand Company (Davidson, N.C., 100); GlaxoSmithKline LLC (Research Triangle Park, N.C., 100); Replacements Ltd. (McLeansville, N.C., 100); Hanesbrands Inc. (Winston-Salem, N.C., 90); Duke Energy Corp. (Charlotte, N.C., 90); Compass Group USA Inc. (Charlotte, N.C., 90); and Reynolds American Inc. (Winston-Salem, N.C., 85). At the bottom of the list was Sonic Automotive Inc. (Charlotte, N.C., 0), with Nucor Corp. (Charlotte, N.C., 10) only slightly higher.

This year’s index included 647 participating companies. Nationally, those at the 100 percent mark rose from 407 in 2016 to 517 in 2017. Gender identity is now part of non-discrimination policies at 82 percent of Fortune 500 companies, up from just 3 percent in 2002; and 387 major employers have adopted supportive inclusion guidelines for transgender workers who are transitioning.

In March, HRC and Equality North Carolina released a letter from more than 100 leading CEOs and other business leaders calling on Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal HB2. The letter — signed by CEOs and business leaders from across the nation — was delivered by HRC President Chad Griffin and Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro personally to Gov. McCrory’s office. Over the spring, an additional 100 business leaders signed onto the letter — including many of North Carolina’s largest employers. Major film studios and corporations, from PayPal to Deutsche Bank, stopped investments in the state because of the new law’s threat to employees and consumers. Artists including Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Dead & Company, and Cyndi Lauper have spoken out. Conventions have withdrawn from the state, taking substantial revenue with them, and the Charlotte Chamber said in May that HB2 has cost the Mecklenburg area alone $285 million and 1300 jobs.

“Even in the face of relentless attempts to undermine equality, America’s leading companies and law firms remain steadfast and committed to supporting and defending the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The unprecedented expansion of inclusive workplaces across the country and around the globe not only reflects our progress, it helps drive it. As we enter a new chapter in our fight for equality, support from the business community will be more critical than ever to protect our historic advancements over the last decade and to continue to push equality forward for workers, customers, and families around the world.”

The full report is available online at hrc.org/cei. For more information, visit hrc.org.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.