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Two of the biggest companies headquartered in Chattanooga are among the two dozen Tennessee businesses that earned top grades for promoting inclusive policies and practices for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) workers.

Unum Corp., the world's biggest disability insurer, and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state's biggest health insurer, each earned top scores of 100 again this year from the Human Right Campaign Foundation in the group's annual assessment of U.S. businesses. The list also included other major Tennessee companies with large Chattanooga staffs, including Hospital Corp. of America, the law firm of Baker Donelson, the automotive supply chain Auto Zone and the restaurant chain Cracker Barrel.

In its assessment of LGBTQ-inclusive workplace policies and practices, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation said a record 680 companies have been designated as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality for their efforts in satisfying all of the criteria studied, earning them a 100% rating. Companies are ranked based on non-discrimination policies across business entities, equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families, support to an inclusive culture, and corporate social responsibility.

Both Unum and BlueCross have established employee resource groups to aid minorities, women, gay workers and others at their work sites.

Unum has made a perfect score on the LGBTQ Equality Index for the past four years, while BlueCross has earned a top grade in each of the past three years.

"Even as we've adjusted to the challenges of COVID-19, our people have continued to champion a workplace that's founded on teamwork, trust and respect," said Ron Harris, BlueCross vice president of diversity and inclusion. "Those efforts are guided by board and executive leadership, as well as the everyday actions of our people."

Unum spokesperson Natalie Godwin said Unum "provides progressive benefits and resources for LGBTQ+ workers, including domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples, health care coverage for procedures related to gender transition and infertility treatment, equal opportunity employment and anti-harassment policies, LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group focused on company-wide education and advocacy and guidance for LGBTQ+ employees in their growth, development and well being."

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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