ExxonMobil Lies About Its Non-Discrimination Policies in Response to Executive Order

by Ianthe Metzger

Blatantly misleading statement tries to paper over a history of discrimination


WASHINGTON –– Following today’s announcement that President Obama will soon issue an executive order extending essential workplace protections to the employees of federal contractors, all eyes turned to the Exxon Mobil Corporation—a Fortune 100 corporation and one of the nation’s largest federal contractors. ExxonMobil has long resisted instituting non-discrimination protections for LGBT employees, digging in their heels even as a vast majority of Fortune 500 companies treat these protections as a business necessity. How ExxonMobil will come to comply with this executive order was one of the big unanswered questions of this morning’s news. 

This afternoon we got ExxonMobil’s answer: they’ve decided to lie about their own record.

In a brazen statement obtained by the Human Rights Campaign, ExxonMobil is now claiming it has “a longstanding policy that strictly prohibits any form of discrimination by or toward employees, contractors, suppliers and customers in any ExxonMobil workplace. Our global, zero-tolerance policy applies to all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

To explain why this is baloney, HRC Vice President for Communications Fred Sainz issued the following statement:

“Put bluntly, this statement is a lie,” Sainz said. “ExxonMobil’s Equal Employment and Opportunity Policy has clearly and consistently omitted enumerated LGBT non-discrimination protections for its personnel. Though their statement sounds like it’s taking a very progressive stand, it is in fact a master class in doublespeak—crafted, no doubt, by a team of well-paid lawyers. Until a nondiscrimination policy is enumerated, it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.” 

ExxonMobil’s shareholders have voted 17 times to kill enumerated non-discrimination protections for ExxonMobil’s LGBT personnel—the most recent occasion was just last month. In fact when Exxon merged with Mobil in 1999, the newly formed company rescinded domestic partner benefits that had previously been offered to Mobil’s gay and lesbian employees. This unprecedented and unmatched record of corporate discrimination has earned ExxonMobil the only negative score in the 12 year history of HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. 

Despite their attempts to rewrite history, there is little expectation that a final executive order signed by President Obama will allow ExxonMobil to get away with this cynical ploy. HRC will continue to work around the clock to ensure that ExxonMobil’s LGBT employees enjoy the same essential protections that a majority of their counterparts in the Fortune 500 already enjoy. 


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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