ExxonMobil announced in 2013 it would offer benefits to all employees’ spouses, but this week the company’s shareholders rejected a new policy that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT workers.
For years the oil company has failed to offer basic non-discrimination protections to its LGBT employees and health benefits to their families. Only 19.5 percent of shareholders voted to approve the resolution on Wednesday. The new resolution would have incorporated inclusive non-discrimination language in the company’s equal employment opportunity policy, specifically including employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This is the 17th time that the shareholder resolution has failed.
Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for HRC, said in an interview with Washington Blade, “Over fifty years of practical experience has firmly established that there is heightened sensitivity to discrimination only when categories are enumerated. If ExxonMobil is as committed to zero-tolerance as they claim, there’s simply no reason to have fully-inclusive policies. Until then, their commitment to equality will rightly be questioned.”
ExxonMobil received a -25 on HRC’s 2014 Corporate Equality Index. In contrast, oil and gas companies such as Chevron, BP, Shell, and Spectra received scores of 85 or higher. More information on the HRC Corporate Equality Index is available at www.hrc.org/cei.