WASHINGTON - ExxonMobil shareholders voted today with record support for a resolution to add "sexual orientation" to the company's written equal employment opportunity policy. The percentage of shares voted in favor of the proposal has grown each of the last eight years, with 37.8 percent of shares voting in favor of the policy this year, an increase from 34.6 percent in 2005. The tally represents about 1.78 billion total shares voted in favor of the proposal.
"ExxonMobil continues to have the dubious distinction of being the only Fortune 50 company that refuses to add sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "With a record number of shareholders voting in favor of equal protections and siding with the overwhelming majority of Americans supporting the right of all employees to earn a living free of discrimination, it is irresponsible for ExxonMobil not to join the majority of companies that provide equal protections and benefits to all families."
ExxonMobil is alone as the only Fortune 50 company that refuses to write sexual orientation protections into its primary non-discrimination policy. A total of 435 - nearly 90 percent - of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies and 124 - or 25 percent - include gender identity. ExxonMobil's competitors, BP Corp., Chevron Corp., Dow Chemical and DuPont all have non-discrimination statements inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. Moreover, ExxonMobil does not provide domestic partner health insurance to all of its employees.
Solmonese continued, "In 2006, for the first time, a majority of the Fortune 500 - a total of 266, or 53 percent - offered domestic partner benefits. While most of corporate America recognizes and respects the diversity of their workforce, ExxonMobil continues to resist the most basic protections that should be afforded to all Americans."
The Human Rights Campaign was on hand at the annual shareholder meeting in Dallas to present the resolution. A group of 21 organizations, including HRC, make up the Coalition to Promote Equality at ExxonMobil.
Mobil Corp. offered such written protection, and domestic partner benefits, to its employees however, upon its 1999 merger with Exxon, the basic non-discrimination protection was removed and the domestic partner benefits program closed to new employees. Twenty-four members of Congress, and thousands of stockholders and consumers, wrote to ExxonMobil Chairman Lee R. Raymond in December 1999 to protest the policy reversals. In January 2000, stockholders and activists protested at a company facility in Houston, causing the facility to close for the day.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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