HRC news release:
Executives continue to resist smallest steps towards equality
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today commented on shareholders at Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) voting with record support for a resolution to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the company’s official equal employment opportunity policy. The percentage of shares voted in favor of the proposal has grown each of the last nine years, with 39.6 percent of shares voting in favor of the policy this year, which is the first year it has included “gender identity.” The tally represents about 1.74 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 and gender identity to their non-discrimination policy, and is stuck in the ever-shrinking minority of businesses that don’t offer domestic partner benefits,” said Human Rights Campaign Foundation President Joe Solmonese. “It is irresponsible for ExxonMobil to ignore overwhelming shareholder support and not to join the majority of companies that provide equal protections and benefits to all families.”
ExxonMobil is the only Fortune 50 company that refuses to write sexual orientation protections into its primary non-discrimination policy, which can be found in the company’s Standards of Business Conduct. A total of 435 – nearly 90 percent – of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies and 153 – more than 30 percent – include gender identity.
ExxonMobil’s competitors, BP Corp., Chevron Corp., Dow Chemical, DuPont and Shell Oil all have non-discrimination statements inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. Moreover, ExxonMobil does not provide domestic partner health insurance to its employees. A majority of the Fortune 500 companies have offered domestic partner benefits since 2006.
Solmonese continued, “While the rest 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 legacy Mobil Corp.’s equal employment opportunity policy included “sexual orientation,” and the company offered domestic partner benefits to its employees; however, upon its 1999 merger with Exxon, the 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 Foundation was present at ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting in Dallas to present the shareholder resolution which it co-files in coordination with the New York City Comptroller and New York City Pension Funds. For more information about the resolution, visit www.hrc.org/issues/8839.htm.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation 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.