Did you know that in the United States, there’s no Federal law that protects LGBTQ employees from being discriminated against by their employers? Even at a more local level, there are 28 States that don’t have any law’s that protect workers from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. And over 50 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed since the start of the year.
Yet, according to Human Rights Watch, a U.S.-based non-profit campaign group that represents LGBTQ people, the situation could get even worse. They claim the Trump administration has launched a “sustained” attack on the rights of LGBTQ people.
Luckily, despite the actions of lawmakers, some of the biggest employers in the U.S. are “advancing vital policies and practices to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workers around the world.”
And that’s no truer than in the aviation industry, where some of the biggest U.S. airlines have once again scored top marks in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index 2018.
“The top-scoring companies on this year’s CEI are not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the United States, they are applying these policies to their operations around the globe and impacting millions of people beyond our shores,” explained Chad Griffin, the HRC’s president.
The HRC said companies like American Airlines, Delta and New York-based jetBlue were “bridging” the gap of employment discrimination that Federal law had failed to fill.
For 2018’s equality index, 1,084 businesses were evaluated for their LGBTQ-related policies and practices. Those included non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBTQ community.
A record-breaking 609 businesses scored a perfect score of 100 – a near 18% increase on last years survey. Airlines that made the grade include American Airlines, Alaska, Delta Air Lines, jetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.
jetBlue provided support to a number of LGBTQ non-profits in 2017
“This award is for all our crewmembers committed to making JetBlue a different kind of airline that’s led by our values,” commented Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief executive, on learning his airline had achieved the accolade for the sixth year running.
But New York’s self-proclaimed “Hometown” airline wasn’t allowed to appear at NYC’s Pride Parade this year after Delta put restrictions on the event. As the principal sponsor of the event, Delta banned other airline’s from sponsoring floats or allowing employees to march while wearing branded clothing. United Airlines was forced to completely withdraw from the march because of the spat.
American Airlines has achieved a perfect score since 2002
Meanwhile, American Airlines has retained its position as the only airline to achieve a perfect score on the equality index since the first survey was held in 2002.
“Fostering an inclusive work environment that embraces the diversity of our team members and the customers we serve is one of the keys to American’s success, and we are honoured to receive this continued recognition from the HRC,” commented American’s Patrick O’Keeffe.
“For more than two decades, American has been a pioneer in establishing fair-minded policies and practices for our LGBTQ team members and customers.”
The results are in stark contrast to findings by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) who accused American of a “corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias” against African-Americans.
Correction: The original version of this post said Alaska Airlines had not achieved a 100% rating. This was not corect and has been amended in the copy above.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.