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Two Columbia law firms score highlight in LGBT inclusion

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Staff Report
Published Nov. 23, 2015

A pair of Columbia-based law firms scored highly in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s recently-released 2016 Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

Nelson Mullins Ruley & Scarborough and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart both earned an 85% CEI rating, above the average 82% South Carolina score. The annual report assesses LGBT inclusion in major companies and law firms across the nation.

In addition to the two law firms, Spartanburg-based Denny’s Corp. earned a 75 rating.

The index said a record 407 businesses spanning nearly every industry and geography earned a top score of 100%, up from 366 a year ago. That was achieved despite new criteria requiring companies with global operations to extend non-discrimination protections for the LGBT workers worldwide.

“Corporate America has long been a leader on LGBT equality, from advocating for marriage equality to expanding essential benefits to transgender employees,” HRC president Chad Griffin said. “But this year, many leading U.S. companies have broken new ground by expanding explicit non-discrimination protections to their LGBT workers around the globe. They've shown the world that LGBT equality isn't an issue that stops at our own borders, but extends internationally.”

Other findings from the report include the 511 companies now offering transgender workers at least one health care plan that has transgender-inclusive coverage. In addition, 75% of Fortune 500 companies now have gender identity as part of non-discrimination policies, and more than 330 major employers have also adopted supportive inclusion guidelines for transgender workers who are transitioning.

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