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Microsoft, EA and GameStop have their share of haters but the Human Rights Campaign isn't among them. The organization named those three companies as some of the Best Places To Work
EA or Microsoft inclusion on any list of best companies might confuse you. Both were named some of the Worst Companies in America by Consumerist. EA won the crown for absolute worst two years in a row. The criteria for that Worst Company "award" was completely different than HRC's honor, though. It's a poll that measures consumer anger toward the company. EA got the nod because everyone was pissed off about SimCity, the Mass Effect 3 ending and other missteps.
The Human Rights Campaign, meanwhile, is evaluating companies based on their support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Microsoft, EA and GameStop were among 304 companies to score a perfect 100 score on HRC's Corporate Equality Index. A company's score is determined by several criteria, such as whether they prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and provide benefits to partners of LGBT employees. Companies also receive points for internal programs that support LGBT employees as well as outreach to external communities.
In the case of EA, their outreach included the support of local Pride Parades across the world. They also hosted a "Full Spectrum" event in February in which industry leaders talked about how to include LGBT characters in games. The publisher was an official sponsor of the GaymerX convention in August as well. Their sale of Humble Origin Bundle, meanwhile, raised millions for charities like the HRC.
The HRC deducts points for any sort of policies or actions considered anti-LGBT. A Chick-Fil-A type situation will get 25 points removed from your score. Being named one of the Best Places To Work, then, is as much about not fucking up as it is about creating a positive environment for LGBT employees.
These companies' efforts in making LGBT employees and customers feel more welcome don't wipe out all the mistakes they've made. EA still deserves your criticism for Battlefield 4's sorry launch. You can still rag on Microsoft for Windows 8. GameStop should get crapped on for selling Xenoblade for $90.
However, they should get credit where it's due. EA, GameStop and Microsoft deserve credit for promoting LGBT equality, full stop. These companies might do things that cause us as gamers to pull our hair out but we're not surrendering anything by acknowledging their accomplishments as progressive employers.