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Nissan Scores Perfect in 2014 CEI Thanks to GSAN Affinity Group

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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has announced the results of its annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which measures a company’s emphasis on diversity and equivalence between its heterosexual and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees. Among the fastest risers in the Index is Nissan, whose 70 percentage point increase from its score of two years ago has been aided considerably by the founding of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Nissan (GSAN) affinity group.

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“Nissan proudly has one of the most diverse customer bases in the automotive industry, and we want to ensure our workforce reflects that. The two biggest factors that catapulted us to a perfect score were the implementation of a companywide diversity training program and the launch of Nissan’s LGBT affinity group, the Gay-Straight Alliance at Nissan (GSAN),” said Robert Wilson, director of Diversity and Inclusion at Nissan, in the automaker’s press release. “With the training program, employees take a deeper dive into what inclusion really means. GSAN has become one of the company’s quickest expanding business synergy teams with outreach programs that are making a difference in terms of sales, recruiting, retention and satisfaction.”

Nissan landed a perfect score of 100 percent in compliances with HRC’s equality standards in what the CEI called a “watershed year for LGBT equality.” HRC’s criteria for the CEI include providing equal benefits for same-sex partners and spouses, ending benefits discrimination for transgender employees and dependents, demonstrating firm-wide organizational competency on LGBT issues, and demonstrating a firm-wide public commitment to the LGBT community.

According to the 2014 CEI:

“More Fortune 500 companies implemented inclusive workplace non-discrimination policies than ever before – 91 percent provide explicit protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 61 percent on the basis of gender identity, a historic high. Sixty-seven percent offer same-sex partner benefits, another record, and there has been a remarkable rise to 28 percent, in essential health care benefits for transgender employees.”

The GSAN Affinity Group was formed in 2012 after more than a dozen Nissan employees expressed interested in founding a group to support LGBT employees and allies. Since its official July 2013 launch, the GSAN affinity group has accrued nearly 100 members, making it one of Nissan’s fastest-growing employee resource groups.

“We want GSAN to serve as a catalyst that drives a culture of equality providing a safe, respectful, inclusive and supportive environment for our employees, vendor partners and customers,” said Cathy Lively, ally supporter and co-chair of GSAN affinity group. “Looking at the successes we’ve had just in the last year makes us really eager to carry that momentum forward as we amp up our presence at LGBT events and get more involved with civic and philanthropic organizations that serve the LGBT community.”

Disconcertingly enough, Fortune 500-topping Exxon Mobil Corp was the worst company in the CEI with an overall score of -25. HRC President Chad Griffin even went so far as to call the company “the worst corporate citizen in America.”

We here at The News Wheel congratulate not only Nissan and their GSAN affinity group for their forward-thinking policies and advocacy work, but the five additional major automakers (Toyota, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and Volkswagen) who landed perfect CEI scores.

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