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Best LGBT-Friendly Places to Work

Almost 200 companies cited for model benefits and policies

En español | One hundred eighty-nine companies have earned spots in a new annual list of "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality."

Compiled by the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, the list honors employers for active nondiscrimination policies; a commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion; and medical insurance and other benefits for employees' domestic partners.

See also: Pride comes in all ages.

This year's list includes some nationally known companies — Apple, Nike, JP Morgan Chase are among them — as well as lesser-known companies such as Tech Data, Delhaize America and Medtronic. To get on the list, employers had to score 100 percent on a corporate equality index devised by the HRC.

"Generally, things have certainly gotten better for LGBT employees of all ages, including those over 50," says Paul Guequierre of the HRC, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization and lobbying group. But "although these findings are encouraging, a lot of work still needs to be done."

Some key findings of interest for older LGBT employees from the 2012 report:

  • Among companies that offer pensions, 73 percent offer Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuities (QJSAs) to employees' domestic partners and 69 percent offer Qualified Pre-retirement Survivor Annuities (QPSAs) to partners.
  • Of employers offering a cash balance pension plan, 82 percent extend benefits to domestic partners.
  • Among all participating companies, 58 percent report that they offer defined benefits to the domestic partners of LGBT employees.
  • Nearly half — 44 percent — extend retiree health care coverage to domestic partners.
  • A record 206 employers report having health care policies that cover medically necessary treatments and procedures for transgender issues. That compares with 85 last year and 66 in 2010.

The HRC's list draws on responses to surveys sent to companies on Fortune magazine's 1,000 largest publicly traded companies, to the top 200 revenue-grossing law firms in the United States, and to private-sector, for-profit companies with at least 500 employees.

The responses are then vetted through published employment programs and, when necessary, direct verification with human resources departments. Companies that don't respond may be evaluated by the HRC based on their written policies.

Next: Older LGBT workers. »

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