BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
ExxonMobil shareholders on Wednesday voted 80 percent to 20 percent against a resolution asking the company to explicitly protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees from discrimination.
“It is shameful that ExxonMobil forces its shareholders to push it to be an equitable employer,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who lobbied for the resolution. New York State's pension fund holds approximately 16.2 million shares of ExxonMobil stock with an estimated market value of $1.3 billion, according to a comptroller's office news release.
“ExxonMobil is clearly acting in a discriminatory way when it offers different benefits to its employees based only on the company’s interpretation of legal marriage. It should do the right thing and implement a clear policy prohibiting discrimination. From the shareholders’ standpoint, there’s risk to the value of our investment until it does," DiNapoli said. "I remain firmly committed to advocating for this resolution until ExxonMobil provides equality for all of its employees.”
Texas-based ExxonMobil has fought an explicit nondiscrimination policy for at least 10 years, according to Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, a national group working to ban workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans.
"It's a digging in of the heels by very stubborn people who want to latch on to the past," Almeida told The Miami Herald on Wednesday.
The oil company posts on its website that "any form of discrimination by or toward employees, contractors, suppliers, and customers in any ExxonMobil workplace is strictly prohibited.
"Our global, zero-tolerance policy applies to all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity," reads the policy.
ExxonMobil does not give domestic partner insurance benefits. Mobil employees lost the benefits after Exxon merged with the company in 1999.
"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," according to an HRC news release. More information on the HRC Corporate Equality Index is available at www.hrc.org/cei.
Also Wednesday, ExxonMobil stockholders boosted Chairman and CEO Rex W. Tillerson's compensation by 17 percent, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. In 2011, he earned $25.2 million. The combination of salary, stock awards and other compensation made Tillerson the 16th-highest paid executive among publicly traded U.S. companies last year.
Tillerson is also national president of Boy Scouts of America -- which prohibits gays from being members or masters.
A scouts spokesman told The Herald it was unlikely the organization would change its policy, even as gay activists on Wednesday delivered 275,000 petitions demanding gays be admitted as members and masters.