From time to time, I like to shine a light on corporations that believe some of their customers and employees are better than others. These are firms that deal in discrimination — or, for short, bad businesses.
I found the latest entrants in the Homophobia Hall of Shame via right-wing Web site BusinessReform.com and an article that, among other things, presents the site’s new list of the Top 10 Anti-gay Companies. Take a gander:
Why We Picked Them: Although this company has a non-discrimination policy toward gays written into its employee manual, they have baulked [sic] the telecom industry trend to cater specifically to the homosexual agenda. Whereas, for example, AT&T offers same-sex partner benefits, “gender identity training” for its employees, and endorses the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Alltel has for the most part stayed out of the GLBT faction’s pocket.
2. BB&T Corp
Industry: Bank/Financial Services
Why We Picked Them: This Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company offers benefits only to spouses of employees. They give no money to GLBT groups, and don’t even have a non-discrimination policy written in the employee handbook. They also don’t waste their employees’ time by offering training in diversity sensitivity or gender identity.
3. International Steel Group
Industry: Steel Manufacturing
Why We Picked Them: This company has shown throughout its history that they have very little time for being PC when it comes to the homosexual agenda. No domestic partner benefits, no attempt to reach the homosexual community through advertising or philanthropic donations, and no quotas for hiring homosexuals.
4. Meijer Inc.
Why We Picked Them: Meijer made the number 9 spot in 2004 on Forbes’ list of the 200 Largest Private Companies, and yet they still have succeeded where retail king Wal-Mart has failed. No domestic partner benefits, nothing about gays in the workplace written into the company manual, and no overt support of the GLBT lifestyle or agenda.
5. Perot Systems Corp.
Industry: Computer Information Services
Why We Picked Them: This company’s stance against the homosexual agenda should not come as a surprise for anyone who followed the 1996 presidential campaign of the company’s founder. In 1997, Ross Perot, in fact, returned to the helm of the company he founded in Plano, Tex. and actually rescinded the domestic partner benefit policy that the company had put into place during his absence. HRC.org reports that the company also actively engages in “corporate action that would undermine the goal of equal rights GLBT people”. Way to go, Ross.
6. Shaw Industries Inc. (a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.)
Industry: Textile manufacturing
Why We Picked Them: They’ve done nothing, to the best of our knowledge, to support the GLBT cause in any significant way.
7. R.R. Donnelley & Sons
Why We Picked Them: Ditto
8. Radio Shack
Why We Picked Them: With industry mates Borders Group, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and SC Johnson & Son getting high praise from pro-gay groups like The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), Radio Shack has retained most of their values when it comes to not supporting the homosexual agenda. The company offers no benefits for domestic partners, and requires no sexual diversity training. Radio Shack also does not support any GLBT groups financially.
Industry: Energy and Utilities
Why We Picked Them: Exxon, in 1999, was only the second company in American history to rescind domestic partner benefits for its employees (Perot Systems Corp. was the first—see above). It also rescinded its sexual non-discrimination policy that was once in its employee handbook. Exxon is not exactly on the HRC’s list of favorite companies, given that Exxon regularly donates money to organizations dedicated to upholding traditional family values.
10. New NGC, Inc., doing business as National Gypsum Company
Why We Picked Them: No non-discrimination policy, no domestic partner benefits for employees, and no handout to the GLBT community. And yet they do about $1.5 billion in business annually. What more can we say?
These are entities that do not deserve your business.
And I have to make a note regarding BusinessReform.com’s language choices: “Homosexual agenda”??? Diversity training a “waste of time”??? What, pray tell, would that mean? And wait: The article showcases pro-GLBT companies as bad guys and praises those that discriminate. Ah… BusinessReform has an agenda of its own — and it most assuredly is NOT to benefit GLBT people or to achieve equality in the workplace for all Americans. So let’s just include BusinessReform.com as Number 11, ‘kay?
Now, in line with my 2005 resolution, let’s not focus purely on the negative. The wingnut site’s article, as previously noted, also lists the top 10 pro-gay firms, companies that put a priority on respecting diversity — and, in some cases, making improvements on past behavior (or, as BusinessReform would put it, they “encourage… the GLBT lifestyle (in all its sundry sordidness).” Let’s give a shoutout to this top 10: Xerox Corp.; American Airlines; Avaya; Eastman Kodak; J.P. Morgan Chase and Co.; Apple Computers; Lucent Technologies; Replacements Ltd.; Nike Inc.; and — how about this? — Coors Brewing Co. Here’s to the businesses brave enough to change the national culture by drawing strength from their GLBT employees and supporting the cause of justice and equality both within their ranks and without. Good going, guys, and thanks.
And thanks too to BusinessReform for giving me a hearty chuckle.