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LGBT-friendly: These MN companies scored well on a new report

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Some of Minnesota's major companies are among the most friendly to their LGBT employees, according to an advocacy group's latest report.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released its Buying for Workplace Equality guide last week, ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The guide aims to help shoppers buy everything from groceries to cars to insurance with LGBT equality in mind, Deena Fidas, Director of HRC Foundation's Workplace Equality Program, said in a news release.

The guide includes more than 570 companies, HRC says, and the Star Tribune reports 28 Minnesota companies were evaluated, averaging a score of 90 out of 100 – just three other states' companies averaged a higher score.

The state of Minnesota has various laws that protect employees from being discriminated against for their sexual orientation. State law also requires that employers extend benefits to same-sex spouses.

How Minnesota-based companies scored

Sixteen scored a perfect 100, including: 3M, Ameriprise, Best Buy, Cargill, Dorsey & Whitney, Ecolab, General Mills, Hormel, Land O'Lakes, Lindquist & Vennum, Medtronic, RBC Wealth Management, Robins Kaplan, SuperValu, Target and U.S. Bancorp, according to the buying guide.

A handful of other Minnesota companies, including the Carlson Hotel Group (score of 85), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (95) and United Health Group (95) scored highly on the guide, getting a "green" ranking (any score from 80-100), which allows shoppers to easily determine which brands support LGBT equality.

However, the Star Tribune says five Minnesota companies didn't score above 85. Caribou Coffee (score of 50), Imation (60) and the Mayo Clinic (65) were among the businesses that received a moderate workplace equality scores, meaning they've taken steps toward a fair-minded workplace, HRC notes.

How are companies scored?

The scores are based on whether or not a company has policies that support LGBT employees, including anti-discrimination protections, same-sex partner benefits, diversity training, and transgender-inclusion benefits.

To determine companies' scores, HRC used information from its annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which evaluated 449 of the companies in the guide. The HRC Foundation did its own independent research for the additional 121 companies in this year's guide – the HRC says those businesses declined to participate in the Corporate Equality Index. Those companies then received estimated scores based on information collected without input from the company, HRC notes.

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