ExxonMobil Offers Benefits to all Employees’ Spouses

by Charles Joughin

WASHINGTON –ExxonMobil, which for years has failed to offer basic non-discrimination protections to its LGBT employees and health benefits to their families, today announced it will at last recognize legal same-sex marriages and offer health benefits to same-sex spouses of its employees. Since 1999, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, has called on the corporation to offer equal benefits and ban all forms of discrimination. The oil giant has yet to include sexual orientation or gender identity in its official non-discrimination policy, despite numerous shareholder resolutions to do so. This means an employee can still be fired or denied a promotion simply for being LGBT.

“Granting health benefits to all married couples is a step toward equality but it is certainly not the kind of leadership exhibited by ExxonMobil’s competitors,” said Deena Fidas, director of the HRC Workplace Equality Program. “There is no federal law protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and ExxonMobil refuses to join the majority of their Fortune 500 colleagues in adopting their own such policies.  One has to wonder, what good are benefits for your same-sex spouse if you risk being fired for disclosing your sexual orientation in order to access them?”

Prior to the 1999 merger of Mobil Corp. and Exxon Corp., Mobil offered health benefits to domestic partners of its employees and prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. When Exxon acquired Mobil, the non-discrimination policy was removed and the domestic partner benefits program was closed to new employees.

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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