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More Texas Companies Are Improving The Workplace For LGBTQ Employees

Activists attend a human rights rally at the Texas Capitol after Trump's inauguration.
Martin do Nascimento
Skye Caleb Gill and other activists listen to speakers at a human rights rally at the Texas Capitol following President Trump's inauguration in 2017.

The number of companies in Texas – and the U.S. as a whole – adopting policies and practices inclusive of LGBTQ employees is growing, a new study finds.

In a survey of 1,059 of the nation’s largest businesses, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation gave 686 a 100% score, earning the companies the distinction of best places to work for LGBTQ equality.

When the educational arm of the civil rights group first started its annual Corporate Equality Index in 2002, only 13 companies earned a perfect score.

“So this year, we’re really proud to say we have a record number of top marks,” Beck Bailey, the director of HRC’s workplace equality program, said. Twenty-eight of those companies are based in Texas. They include American Airlines in Fort Worth, Indeed Inc. in Austin, Texas Instruments in Dallas, Rackspace in San Antonio, and Shell Oil Co. in Houston. The average score for the 84 employers in Texas was 68% on the 2020 Corporate Equality Index.

Bailey said one of the factors used to assess businesses is "nondiscrimination policies that extend across the business that protect people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity."

He said the survey also looks for equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families and the companies’ commitment to creating an inclusive culture. It also evaluates corporate social responsibility, which includes training on what an inclusive workplace looks like.

"By participating in the index, they’re able to make clear to Texans that they are inclusive employers and inclusive places to go shop and spend your hard-earned money,” he said.

Bailey said these policies help fill a void because Texas doesn’t have laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Nor do we have them consistently on the federal level,” he said. Businesses are stepping in where lawmakers have failed, Bailey said, “and closing the gap around this real deficit in our civil rights laws, by taking a stand to be an inclusive employer."

Becky Fogel is the education reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @beckyfogel.
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