A new Forbes ranking assesses how well the hundred largest employers among U.S. public companies mobilized to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Developed in partnership with JUST Capital — whose COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker documents the activities of the top hundred public U.S. companies, which collectively employ some thirteen million people — the Forbes Corporate Responders ranking analyzed companies' responses to the public health crisis from mid-March through May 7. Each company was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 across twenty-two categories, ranging from more flexible attendance policies to contributions to community relief funds, and given an overall composite score.
Verizon Communications topped the list with a score of 3.87, followed by Target (3.83), AT&T (3.83), Walmart (3.78), T-Mobile (3.77), Lowe's (3.74), Starbucks (3.74), Home Depot (3.73), JPMorgan Chase (3.70), and Kroger Co. (3.69). As of early May, according to Forbes, Verizon had committed more than $54 million in cash and in-kind contributions to nonprofits, had not laid off any of its roughly 135,000 employees, had offered extra compensation for full-time employees still working in the field or offices, had held back on cutting service for customers struggling to pay their bill, and had launched a COVID-specific leave-of-absence policy that provides 100 percent pay for up to eight weeks and 60 percent for up to sixteen weeks.
Philanthropic donations highlighted in the rankings include AT&T's $10 million donation in support of online learning resources and the Starbucks Foundation's contributions totaling more than $3 million to the likes of the United Nations Foundation's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and Give2Asia.
"These companies are not free of controversies," wrote Forbes' Ezequiel Minaya. "Some have been criticized for ending policies, such as 'hero' pay, too soon. Others are facing lawsuits for wrongful death of workers or allegedly failing to safeguard the health of staff and customers."
"The companies featured on this list have been incredibly responsive through this first wave of the crisis," said JUST Capital CEO Martin Whittaker, "and we hope that they will continue to demonstrate the same leadership as we move into attempting to reopen our economy while protecting the health and safety of workers and communities."