Baker & Daniels LLP was the only law firm based in Indiana to earn the top rating of 100 percent in the 2009 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and announced today.
Baker & Daniels joined 259 other major U.S. businesses which received top marks for their treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) employees and consumers. The CEI rated businesses on their GLBT-related policies and practices, including non-discrimination policies, transgender health benefits and domestic partner benefits. Baker & Daniels' efforts in ensuring GLBT equality in each of the survey's main criterion earned it the prestigious 100 percent ranking.
"Diversity and inclusion are among our core values at Baker & Daniels, and we are focused on maintaining a collegial, supportive and inclusive work environment for all," said Tom Froehle, chair and chief executive partner at Baker & Daniels. "We're proud of our 100 percent rating and will continue to invest in diversity initiatives in our offices and communities."
In the CEI index, Baker & Daniels was applauded for a number of programs, including nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; diversity and inclusion training; and parity in domestic partner health insurance and other benefits, including COBRA and bereavement.
Baker & Daniels embraces a broad definition of diversity, targeting initiatives on multiple fronts. In addition to GLBT outreach, the firm recruits at 29 law schools across the country; regularly participates in minority job fairs; and annually awards two $10,000 diversity scholarships with guaranteed placements in the firm's summer associate program to second-year law students of diverse backgrounds at Indiana University or University of Notre Dame Law Schools.
Baker & Daniels also jointly sponsors summer associate programs for diverse law students with two of the firm's clients, Eli Lilly and Company and Cummins Inc. Recognizing that Indiana does not have a GLBT-advocacy platform, the firm organized an internal GLBT pro bono work group, which presented a series of organizational seminars for organizations serving the GLBT community.
After an internal diversity assessment through interviews and focus groups conducted by Boston-based Novations Group, Baker & Daniels implemented an action plan that includes diversity and inclusion training for all firm employees in all offices.
In the Corporate Equality Index, the 259 top-rated businesses collectively employ more than 9 million full-time employees. These workers are protected from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression because of their employers' policies on diversity, health care and domestic partnership benefits.
"The 2009 Corporate Equality Index shows that corporate America understands that a diverse workforce is critical to remaining successful and competitive," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. "In the absence of a federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, it is up to employers to take the lead and implement policies that ensure all their employees are protected."
Last year, Baker & Daniels achieved a 95 percent rating in the Corporate Equality Index.
For more information on the 2009 Corporate Equality Index, or to download a free copy of the report, visit www.hrc.org/cei.
ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
ABOUT BAKER & DANIELS
Founded in 1863, Baker & Daniels LLP is one of Indiana's largest law firms. With more than 370 lawyers and legal professionals, Baker & Daniels serves clients in regional, national and international transaction, regulatory and litigation matters from offices in Indiana, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Beijing.