MSL, holding companies score high with HRC

Human Rights Campaign has named MSLGroup Americas one of the best places to work in terms of LGBT equality.

NEW YORK: Human Rights Campaign has named MSLGroup Americas one of the best places to work in terms of LGBT equality.

The organization's Corporate Equality Index 2014 rated US workplaces on LGBT equality, with Fortune 1,000 and AmLaw 200 companies invited to participate and the entire Fortune 500 rated even if they do not actively take part.

This year, a record 304 businesses earned a top score of 100%, which was the tally MSLGroup Americas achieved.

MSL was the only PR firm that appeared in the index, along with 14 US agencies in the advertising and marketing section. Interpublic Group also scored 100%. Ogilvy & Mather, Omnicom Group, and WPP Group scored 90, 80, and 80, respectively.

“As an employer, we recognize the diversity that our employees bring to our business is a strength. While we've always provided support in some manner for our LGBT employees, about two years ago we came to understand that we needed to institutionalize this support in stronger and more meaningful ways,” said Maree Prendergast, chief talent officer for North America at MSLGroup.

MSL did this by rewriting its non-discrimination policy to include protection based on gender identity and sexual orientation. It also added gender-reassignment coverage to its health insurance policies.

“This particular change in policy was not about responding to the needs of specific individuals, but about doing the right thing because it is right,” said Prendergast.

Over the past two years, MSLGroup also increased its support for causes and organizations such as the Ali Forney Center, AIDS Walk, the Center, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS that address LGBT-related issues, she added.

At the start of 2013, MSLGroup began recruiting through outreach to LGBT groups.

Human Rights Campaign's criteria for the index include: providing equal benefits for same-sex partners and spouses; ending benefits discrimination for transgender employees and dependants; demonstrating firm-wide organizational competency of LGBT issues; and demonstrating agency-wide public commitment to their community.

This year, 734 companies took part in the index, which was based on a survey, examinations of filings, and memberships in organizations, among other factors.

According to the report, American companies stood by their LGBT employees “in record numbers.”

When the survey started 12 years ago, 13 businesses scored 100%.

This story was updated on December 11 to correct the rankings of Ogilvy & Mather, WPP Group, and Omnicom Group.

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