Editor's Note: Guest blogger Daryl Herrschaft has overseen the Workplace Project of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation since 1998. He monitors and evaluates corporate policies surrounding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors.
In its February 2 issue, Fortune magazine unveils its "100 Best Companies to Work For 2009." The annual list is created from metrics that look at benefits, work-life and diversity--among other categories. The recognition it bestows is highly sought after by corporate recruiters. Unfortunately, Fortune did not get the facts straight on the company it awarded with the number 90 slot on this year's list: FedEx.
FedEx's Fortune profile contains the following under the "diversity" section:
"Has nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation? Yes; Offers domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples? Yes."
The first part is true, the company does include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy; however, the policy doesn't include gender identity.
As for domestic partner benefits? No.
FedEx has never offered domestic partner benefits firm-wide. The only unit of the company that provides benefits to gay employees' families is FedEx Office, formerly known as Kinko's.
Kinko's was already providing domestic partner benefits when FedEx acquired it in 2004. FedEx actually refused to extend the benefits to its other units. The fact that FedEx did not flat out cancel the benefits at Kinko's is certainly no consolation to its thousands of other employees.
But, that's not all.
FedEx has actively resisted providing benefits to gay families, even in states where gay people can marry. In this letter to a legally married employee (PDF) in Massachusetts, FedEx actually invokes the Defense of Marriage Act to justify why it won't provide benefits to its LGBT employees' families in Massachusetts! FedEx's tortured legal argument goes something like this:
We have a federally regulated health insurance plan and since the federal government defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman we are free to ignore your marriage in the provision of employee benefits.
Legally accurate? Yes. Best Place to Work? No.
And, before the folks at Fortune get too busy handing out the kudos, let's not forget that FedEx scored only a 55 on HRC's Corporate Equality Index.
Cross-posted at HRC Back Story.