Is it time for HRC to do away with the Corporate Equality Index?

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From a professional and career perspective, I feel that it is important to define how the events of the past 14 months…

Posted by Hollis Bulleit on Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bulleit told her Facebook readers Tuesday she was dismayed that those who don’t believe her claims are complaining she’s “airing her dirty laundry,” and compared that response to slut-shaming and victim blaming.

I assure you the people we are up against are looking at this as a three day storm and not as an opportunity to make some positive change. From experience I’ve had many lovely conversations with my former company laden with verbal promises which amount to nothing. Talking things out can be cathartic until you realize you are no further along and possibly you have taken two steps backwards. I’ve been horrified by the negative responses I’ve read like “Hollis is airing her dirty laundry”; thus comparing homophobia to dirty laundry (it reminds me of techniques used to slut-shame and victim blame). Which just shows a lack of understanding and has a damning effect on the LGBTQIA community as a whole. I held my story and acted with complete sober professionalism for over 25 years and 10 years with my former company and I was compared to having a “pre-teen” rant – akin to comparing me to a three year old with issues who waited a decade to talk about them and thus minimizing the extremely important social issue being discussed.

It has been mind blowing reading through the amount of responses to these posts which for me was a last ditch attempt in…

Posted by Hollis Bulleit on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

 

Of course, this Diageo-owned company, whose corporate owner consistently ranks among HRC’s best places for queer people to work, is not alone in facing allegations of being unfair to LGBTQ employees despite that score.

Walmart was the target of a class-action lawsuit in 2016 for refusing to cover the insurance claims of the spouses of same-sex employees. The company settled ten months later. But that same year, HRC awarded both Walmart and T-Mobile its highest score of 100 on the CEI. Walmart scored top honors again this year after adding gender identity and expression to its nondiscrimination policy, which already included sexual orientation. HRC had high praise for this move by the company, which is the largest private employer in the U.S.

Pride At Work, the Washington, D.C. nonprofit that represents unionized LGBTQ workers in the U.S., has complained bitterly about HRC’s praise for Walmart, as well as T-Mobile. In fact, the org has hammered HRC for its CEI scoring for years.

“We are disappointed that the HRC Corporate Equality Index rewards big corporations for questionable employment practices without taking into consideration the lived experiences of the LGBTQ working people in those corporations,” executive director Jerame Davis said in 2015. “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.”

Davis told LGBTQ Nation in an email Wednesday that Pride At Work took a stance against HRC that year, passing a unanimous resolution condemning what he called “HRC’s anti-labor activities and, specifically, their Corporate Equality Index.” This week, Davis said HRC spurned Pride At Work’s efforts to join other civil rights organizations in a letter to Nissan. On Thursday, Nissan factory workers in Mississippi will vote on whether they want to form a union. The letter asks Nissan to not take a stand, according to Davis.

“HRC refused to sign the letter,” said Davis, “stating that they have a relationship with Nissan and that Nissan is good on LGBTQ issues. Translation: ‘We’ve got ours, screw you.’ Nearly every other major national civil rights group signed the letter.”

Solidarity is something unions hold near and dear. HRC has repeatedly refused to stand in solidarity with the labor movement in its times of need despite labor being there time and again for HRC and the LGBTQ community. HRC has decided that corporate checks are more important than sticking with our longstanding allies. This stance may make HRC more money in the short term, but it is setting that organization apart from its fellow civil rights groups and does real harm to the civil rights coalition they ostensibly belong to.

As of press time, Bulleit’s claims of hidden homophobia and of being oustered from the family and its business could not be verified independently. But Bulleit made it clear on her Facebook page keeping all this to herself has haunted her far too long. “For the past decade, I have held these secrets; which have only served to exacerbate my suffering.”

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