The Human Rights Campaign Foundation yesterday released its seventh annual Corporate Equality Index ("CEI"), which rates 583 large businesses on a scale from 0 to 100 percent on their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.  This year  259 businesses–employing more than 9 million full-time employees–achieved a perfect score, a one-third increase over last year.  These companies protect their employees from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression through policies on diversity & inclusion, training, health care, and domestic partnership benefits.

One notable trend is that of the 583 business rated in the CEI, 99 percent have policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a 13 percent increase over last year.  92 percent of rated employers provided health insurance coverage to employees’ same-sex domestic partners.

According to Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil, “A 100-percent rating helps us to better attract, recruit and retain diverse talent to contribute to our overall business success.”  But having anti-discrimination policies is frequently more than good business–it is also the law.  Many states, including California, Oregon, Minnesota and Washington, have state laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and more states are considering adopting such laws.  If you don’t already have an anti-discrimination policy that prohibits such discrimination, now might be a good time to adopt one.