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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 17, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 46
HRC revokes Walmart's perfect score after EEOC complaints by Transgender workers
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HRC revokes Walmart's perfect score after EEOC complaints by Transgender workers

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The HRC announced on November 10 that it was revoking Walmart's perfect corporate equality score in the wake of federal complaints of anti-Transgender discrimination.

The retail giant was awarded its first-ever 100 rating last year, in spite of a spotty record that featured several complaints of discrimination and harassment of LGBT employees. According to the HRC, they upgraded Walmart after the company agreed to add new policies to help protect Trans workers.

However, two recent investigations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency charged with enforcing nondiscrimination laws in the workplace, 'pointed to significant enforcement gaps in Walmart's nondiscrimination policy, specifically with regards to sex and gender identity,' according to the most recent HRC Corporate Equality Index (CEI) report.

'Pending remedial steps by the company, the CEI rating is suspended,' HRC concluded.

The EEOC complaints involved one case in Florida and another in North Carolina in which Trans workers complained that the company had failed to protect them from on-the-job harassment.

Letters detailing the charges were also posted on the website for the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. Walmart had no comment on the EEOC cases.

'Walmart has previously received high marks on the CEI, but recent determinations by the EEOC about discrimination are cause for concern,' Deena Fidas, director of the HRC workplace equality program, said in a statement.

'The CEI is not just focused on policy but on the daily workplace experience of LGBTQ employees. We have suspended Walmart's score at this time as they address these concerns.'

According to the HRC, a record-breaking 609 businesses earned the CEI's top score of 100 this year, up from 517 in 2016. This represents a single-year increase of 18%, a new high in the 16-year history of the CEI.

'The LGBTQ community is not explicitly protected by federal nondiscrimination law, but these companies are bridging that gap for their employees and beyond,' the HRC added.

The worldwide number of employees who come under a corporate nondiscrimination policy including sexual orientation and gender identity is now 14.5 million, the HRC said. More than 100 businesses are corporate supporters of the Equality Act, landmark federal legislation that would add protections for LGBT people to federal civil rights laws.

The EEOC complaints were filed under an Obama-era interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which said that the legal prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex also covered discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The new Trump administration has revoked the Obama-era rules, but the issue is only now being litigated in federal courts.

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