ExxonMobil Shareholders have Opportunity to Protect LGBT Employees

SEC sides with NY Comptroller resolution and rejects corporation’s attempt to block fair-minded workplace policies

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, lauded the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for rejecting ExxonMobil’s request to block a shareholder resolution to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the company’s equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy. The resolution, proposed by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, will be voted on by shareholders the annual shareholders meeting on May 30.

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.

“The SEC has cleared a path to progress for the thousands of LGBT people employed by ExxonMobil,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “The company has been aggressively resistant to change and is way out of step with their direct competitors as well as the majority of Fortune 500 companies. Given this opportunity for change, we call on the ExxonMobil shareholders to adopt a legally binding policy that protects all employees. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli deserves special recognition for his ongoing dedication to ensuring good corporate citizenship and for helping ExxonMobil’s LBGT 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. As of 2012, 85 % of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their EEO policy and 50% include gender identity.

More information on the HRC Corporate Equality Index is at: http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/corporate-equality-index-2011.

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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