WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, highlighted today the stark contrasts of LGBT-inclusive policies in the wireless industry. The HRC Foundation’s recently released Buying for Equality 2010 guide showed key service providers AT&T and Sprint Nextel/Boost Mobile scored top marks whereas Verizon/Alltel and T-mobile did not. Furthermore, despite repeated attempts, U.S. Cellular has not responded to questions about their policies. Handheld phone manufacturers Apple, Motorola and Qualcomm also scored top marks while Nokia did not.
“Wireless providers are in overdrive promoting their products and services for the holiday shopping season. LGBT and other equality-minded consumers must hold them accountable by supporting those that support us and avoiding companies and products in the ‘red’ on equality,” said Eric Bloem, Deputy Director of HRC’s Workplace Project. “Businesses know that LGBT-inclusion is good for their bottom-line, causing a race to the top in many other industries — it’s time for the wireless industry to catch up.”
Buying for Equality, a guide to hundreds of popular American brands rated on businesses’ treatment of LGBT employees, can be viewed and downloaded online at www.hrc.org/buyersguide. The guide divides businesses and their consumer products into red, yellow and green categories based on their rating on the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, the only nationally recognized benchmark of LGBT workplace inclusion.
Service Provider Scores:
AT&T (NYSE: T) 100 (green)
Sprint Nextel/Boost Mobile (NYSE: S) 100 (green)
Verizon/Alltel (NYSE: VZ) 70 (yellow)
T-mobile 50 (yellow)
US Cellular (NYSE: TDS) Non-responder (red)
Handheld Manufacturer Scores:
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) 100 (green)
Motorola (NYSE: MOT) 100 (green)
Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) 95 (green)
Nokia (NYSE: NOK) 50 (yellow)
Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) 100 (green)
Radio Shack (NYSE: RSH) 40 (red)
The LGBT community is estimated to have $712 billion in buying power this year, according to research by Witeck-Combs Communications and Marketresearch.com. In addition, 45 percent of gay and lesbian adults say they tend to upgrade to the latest model or version of a product, compared with 33 percent of heterosexual adults, according to a Witeck-Combs/Harris Interactive study.
Fair-minded consumers are encouraged to write to businesses to ask them revise their policies, or encourage them to participate in the Corporate Equality Index. More information can be found at www.hrc.org/ConsumerAdvocacy.
Additional background information on “Buying for Equality 2010”:
Buying for Equality is an annual publication of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that directs consumers to support fair-minded businesses through their purchasing decisions. The guide draws comparisons between products, services and retail outlets that consumers use on a daily basis. The ratings are based upon the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index which, this year, rated a record 305 at 100 percent. The CEI is the foremost method for businesses to evaluate their diversity and inclusion efforts toward recruiting and retaining LGBT employees, customers and investors — learn more at www.hrc.org/cei.
Categories: “Buying for Equality” breaks companies and their products into everyday purchasing categories, including:
• Apparel & Accessories
• Banking & Finance
• Eating Out
• Food & Beverage
• Home & Garden
Ratings: Businesses and their products are divided based on their CEI rating into red, yellow and green sections so that consumers can easily determine which brands support LGBT equality:
• Green (80-100): Consumers should make every effort to support these businesses.
• Yellow (46-79): Businesses/brands that have taken steps toward a fair-minded workplace, but there is still progress to be made.
• Red (0-45): Businesses/brands that have more work to do in furthering equality. If possible, make the choice to support a fairer company.
• Red (?): Businesses/brands that have not responded to the survey despite repeated attempts and whose policies remain unclear. HRC looks forward to building relationships with businesses that have not responded to attempts to gather information on LGBT workplace policies and programs, and are hopeful to evaluate and report information in the future.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.