Laclede Gas Tied for Worst Place in America to Work if You're Gay, Lesbian or Transgendered

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Laclede: It's a gas -- unless you're gay.
Laclede: It's a gas -- unless you're gay.
The Laclede Group, whose primary subsidiary is Laclede Gas, has earned the dubious distinction of finishing tied with Exxon Mobil Corp. as the worst place in the nation to work if you're gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.

A total of 590 businesses were ranked by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a major lobbying group and political action committee for the LGBT community. The average rating in the foundation's eighth annual survey -- published today in the Huffington Post -- was an 86. Some 305 companies, representing more than 9.3 million full-time employees, earned a perfect score of 100.

Laclede and Exxon both finished with a zero ranking.

No other company fared so poorly. Coming close, however, was Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. The Lebanon, Tennessee-based firm received a 15.

The major criteria in the evaluation included whether discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identify is prohibited, and whether same-sex partners are eligible for health benefits.

Other St. Louis businesses ranked in the HRC Foundation's 2010 Corporate Equality Index (click here for complete rankings) included Monsanto, Byran Cave LLP and Thompson Coburn LLP, all of which received an unblemished score. Nestle Purina racked up a 75, and Ameren Corp., a 70.

Daily RFT spoke briefly just now to Robert Arrol, Laclede's manager of corporate communications.

"I am not aware of this," Arrol said. "But I'll Iook into it and get back to you."

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