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New Jersey companies top Human Rights Campaign rankings

New Jersey is home to some of the top companies in the country. Now many of them can also boast that they are among the top businesses in the nation when it comes to their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

The Human Rights Campaign, which describes itself as the "largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans," has released its 2015 Corporate Equality Index. Of the 35 New Jersey companies included in the index of close to 800 businesses nationwide, 13 earned a 100 percent rating. Another six scored at least 90 percent, while two more scored 80 percent or higher.

The companies were ranked based on their policies and practices that impact LGBT employees. These include having LGBT-inclusive benefits, including gender identity in their non-discrimination policies, internal education and a public commitment to LGBT people.

Those New Jersey-based companies that got a perfect score reflect the diversity of top companies headquartered in our state. They include Campbell Soup Company, Alcatel-Lucent, Johnson & Johnson, Prudential Financial Inc., Unilever, Merck & Company Inc., and Wyndham Worldwide Corporation. As the director of HRC's Workplace Equality Program noted, "You see essentially a microcosm of the American workforce in New Jersey."

These companies demonstrate that successful companies can embrace a diverse workforce and provide the same benefits to all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, not all companies do that. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and any number of other factors is still far too prevalent, despite laws that have been enacted to help prevent it. That's why anyone who believes that he or she has been the victim of discrimination in the workplace can and should seek legal guidance to determine what steps can be taken. By doing so, you can seek justice for yourself and help prevent injustice towards others.

Source: NJ 101.5, "13 NJ companies get top scores for equality" Kelly Waldron, Nov. 20, 2014

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