ExxonMobil Should Protect LGBT Employees Despite Failed Shareholder Vote
Resolution to add LGBT protections to EEO policy falls short
Washington– Despite a failed vote by ExxonMobil shareholders to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the company’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today is calling on the oil giant to add the protections, banning all forms of discrimination. ExxonMobil is behind the curve while the rest of corporate America protects LGBT workers. As of 2012, 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their EEO policy and 50 percent include gender identity.
More than a decade ago, before Mobil Corp. was acquired by Exxon Corp., Mobil prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and offered health benefits to domestic partners of its employees. Upon its 1999 merger with Exxon, the non-discrimination policy was removed and the domestic partner benefits program was closed to new employees. Since 1999, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation along with other groups such as the New York City Pension Funds, has filed a resolution to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories in the company’s EEO policy. In 2011, the shareholder proposal garnered significant support, receiving votes representing over 500 million shares with a market value of more than $42.4 billion.
In March, ExxonMobil again asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow it to omit a resolution, sponsored by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its EEO policies from its shareholder meeting. The SEC rejected the request to block the shareholder resolution, however the resolution was voted down earlier today.
Last week, ExxonMobil’s hometown newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, weighed in on the controversy surrounding the company’s 13-year refusal to protect its LGBT employees, publishing an editorial calling on the company to heed the call and do the right thing.
“The shareholder resolution to add sexual orientation and gender identity to ExxonMobil’s EEO policy was a non-binding referendum and the company still has the chance to do the right thing,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “As perhaps the largest corporation in the country, ExxonMobil has a responsibility to be a good corporate citizen; sadly they have fallen far short. The company has resisted offering basic employment protections for their LGBT workers for years and it’s time they treat all of their employees like the valuable assets they are.”
On HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, ExxonMobil received a score of -25. 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.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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