Despite the failed vote, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, is calling on the oil giant to add the protections and ban all forms of discrimination.
ExxonMobil lags behind most of corporate America, including its closest competitors in the oil industry. Currently, 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their EEO policy and 57 percent include gender identity.
“No company has proven itself a worse corporate citizen by betraying its LGBT employees time and again than ExxonMobil,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “By failing once more to do the right thing, ExxonMobil places itself firmly on the wrong side of history. Fair-minded consumers should take their business elsewhere.”
Prior to the 1999 merger of Mobil Corp. and Exxon Corp., Mobil prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and offered health benefits to domestic partners of its employees. When Exxon acquired Mobil, 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.
This year, the resolution to add sexual orientation and gender identity to ExxonMobil’s EEO policy was again sponsored by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. This is the fourth year DiNapoli has sponsored the resolution. In past years, the SEC rejected requests to block the shareholder resolution.
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.
HRC continues to call on President Obama to issue an Executive Order barring federal contractors from discriminating in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. As today’s actions show, when bad actors fail to protect their employees Americans need every tool available to protect them from workplace discrimination. ExxonMobil, as a federal contractor, would be forced to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy, allowing its LGBT employees to go to work every day without fear of being fired for who they are or who they love.