Carolinas companies, cities ranked by HRC

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released its 2018 Corporate Equality Index and Carolinas companies either ranked perfectly or fell short of a top score.

In its 16th edition, the organization had a record-breaking 609 employers from across the U.S. that earned a perfect 100 percent score, ensuring that workplaces are fully LGBTQ inclusive. HRC also saw that major businesses ensured that transgender employees could expect equal protections under their non-discrimination policies, gender transition guidelines and access to inclusive healthcare.

Scores were based upon four key components: non-discrimination policies across business entities; equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families; internal education and accountability metrics to promote LGBTQ inclusion competency; and, public commitment to LGBTQ equality.

Carolinas companies who received a 100 percent ranking/rating are: BB&T Corp., Winston-Salem, N.C.; Delhaize America Inc., Salisbury N.C.; Duke Energy Corp., Charlotte, N.C.; GlaxoSmithKline LLC, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; Ingersoll-Rand Company, Davidson, N.C.; Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, Burlington, N.C.; Lenovo (U.S.) Inc., Morrisville, N.C.; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Taylorsville, N.C.; Moore & Van Allen PLLC, Charlotte, N.C.; Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, Greenville, S.C.; Replacements Ltd., McLeansville, N.C.; VF Corp., Greensboro, N.C.; and Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Those who did not receive a perfect score are: Alliance One International, Morrisville, N.C., 55; Bank of America Corp., Charlotte, N.C., 75; Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Durham, N.C., 75; Compass Group USA Inc., Charlotte, N.C., 90; Denny’s Corp., Spartanburg, S.C., 75; Hanesbrands Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C., 90; Lowe’s Companies Inc., Mooresville, N.C., 75; Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Columbia, S.C., 85; Quaintance-Weaver Inc., Greensboro, N.C., 60; Reynolds American Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C., 95; and Sonoco Products Company, Hartsville, S.C., 80.

Replacements, Ltd., which is gay owned and operated, is one of only eight U.S. companies who have scored perfectly for all 16 years that HRC has been monitoring American corporations.

“Danica Roem’s victory … in Virginia is a great win for the LGBTQ community,” said Replacements Founder and CEO Bob Page. “While her election is a huge step forward, unfortunately it’s become very clear that corporate leadership must set the example in protecting LGBTQ employees, especially the transgender community. Recent proposed actions seem to specifically target transgender Americans, and that absolutely needs to stop — no person, for any reason, should be made to feel singled out or picked on. That’s why we must loudly continue to let Washington know it’s past time for Congress to pass comprehensive workplace non-discrimination legislation to protect all people.”

HRC and the Equality Federation partnership also released their Municipal Equality Index (MEI) selections which demonstrates the ways that many cities can — and do — support the LGBTQ individuals who live and work there, even where states and the federal government have failed to do so.

North Carolina ratings are: Carrboro, 71; Cary, 18; Chapel Hill, 66; Charlotte, 73; Durham, 69; Fayetteville, 23; Greensboro, 82; Raleigh, 60; Wilmington, 21; and Winston-Salem, 48.

South Carolina ratings are: Charleston, 67; Clemson, 0; Columbia, 75; Greenville, 22; Mount Pleasant, 18; Myrtle Beach, 21; North Charleston, 47; and Rock Hill, 17.

According to Chapelboro and WCHL, the national average is 57 and the average in North Carolina is 53. Cities are ranked on 44 different criteria which “fall under five broad categories, those being city-wide non-discrimination laws, the city’s policies towards city employees, city services, law enforcement and the city’s leadership on LGBTQ equality.”

Greensboro had the highest score for North Carolina. The city has “trans-inclusive healthcare benefits for city employees, LGBTQ liaison in the police department and administrative policy that requires city contractors not to discriminate in employment on the expressed basis of sexual orientation,” Xavier Persad said. Persad is the author of the report and legislative counsel for HRC.

Complete information is available online for both the CEI and MEI.


Institute offers summer program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Civil Liberties Union will bring high school junior and senior students from across the U.S. to its Summer Advocacy Institute from July 18-25, 2018.

The week-long program includes: workshops on how to build effective advocacy strategies — for every community and against great odds; visits with members of Congress and/or congressional staff on Capitol Hill to discuss legislation and public policy; events in and around Washington, D.C., including museums, monuments and visits to college campuses; and lectures and seminars from a wide array of civil liberties and political experts and practitioners.

The organization shared that now is an “incredibly important time for politically-engaged young people to come together with ACLU experts to develop strong leadership skills, build relationships with other activists and advance their advocacy abilities to fight on behalf of justice and equality.”

Space is limited, so early application is encouraged. Deadline is Jan. 19, 2018.


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

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.