By Oscar Lopez
MEXICO CITY, Dec 5 (Openly) - The number of Mexican companies with LGBT+ friendly work policies nearly doubled in the past year, a leading rights group reported on Thursday, showing the influence of U.S. corporations on local business partners to support gay and trans workers.
The number grew to 120 from 69 the previous year, according to the annual Equidad MX report by the U.S.-based Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC).
U.S.-based firms including Nike, Uber and Walmart comprised more than half the list, while the number of Mexican-owned companies with LGBT+ friendly policies grew to 36 from 15, it said.
The HRC said it assessed firms on a range of criteria including non-discrimination policies and their public support for the LGBT+ community. It issued its first report in Mexico in 2017 with 32 companies.
The progress showed large U.S. companies that already have inclusive workplace policies encouraging smaller, local partners to adopt similar practices, HRC said.
"The companies with which we started the program are having a positive influence on their supply chains," said Francisco Robledo, HRC Equidad MX Implementing Partner.
Progressive legislation and public policy in Mexico also have helped motivate larger local companies to join the list including state oil company PEMEX and bottling giant Coca Cola FEMSA, Robledo said.
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been illegal in Mexico since 2003. The country was only the second after Ecuador to implement such a law in Latin America.
More than half of Mexico's 32 states recognize gay marriage, and the nation's top court ruled in May that trans people have a legal right to change their gender identity on official documents.
Despite the legal advances, gay and trans people face prejudice in Mexico.
According to a 2014 survey by Mexican advocacy group ADIL, 35% of LGBT people said they had been subject to discrimination in the workplace, with 10% saying they had been fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
This year, HRC launched a similar list in Chile, where 15 companies earned a spot as "Best Place to Work for the LGBT Community."
In the United States, HRC's Corporate Equality Index in March gave 571 businesses a top score of 100 percent. (Reporting by Oscar Lopez @oscarlopezgib; editing by Ellen Wulfhorst.
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