Memphis Law Firm Gets Perfect Score in Equality Index, AutoZone Scores Low


A Memphis law firm, FedEx, and First Horizon scored well in this year's Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, while International Paper and AutoZone fell toward the bottom of the list.

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC scored a perfect 100, making it one of only two major corporations and/or law firms in Tennessee with a perfect score. The other was Nissan North America Inc. in Franklin.

That means the company prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, has vendor/contractor standards that don't discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, offers partner health insurance, has other "soft" benefits for partners, offers transgender-inclusive health coverage, has organizational competency programs, has a firm-wide diversity council or LGBT employee group, and positively engages the external LGBT community.

FedEx scored high with an 85 percent. The main thing that kept FedEx from scoring higher was its lack of transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage. First Horizon Corp. also scored an 85 percent. 

International Paper scored a 25 percent, and AutoZone scored a 10 percent. The only LGBT-friendly policy at AutoZone is one prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In total, 851 companies across the country were officially rated in the 2016 index, up from 781 in the 2015 report. The average score for companies and law firms based in Tennessee is 69 percent. Of the 12 Tennessee companies ranked, two earned 100 percent, and four earned 80 percent or above.

"Corporate America has long been a leader on LGBT equality, from advocating for marriage equality to expanding essential benefits to transgender employees," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "But this year, many leading U.S. companies have broken new ground by expanding explicit non-discrimination protections to their LGBT workers around the globe. They've shown the world that LGBT equality isn't an issue that stops at our own borders, but extends internationally."

To see the full index, go here.

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