A group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists are decrying Exxon Mobil shareholders' decision not to explicitly ban discrimination against potential gay employees.
Members of national LGBT advocacy group GetEQUAL released the following statement via email in response to a 4-to-1 ratio vote defeating a resolution to ban anti-gay discrimination:
"ExxonMobil continues to dig in its heels to prove that it is one of the most ardent proponents of LGBT discrimination in the country. While ExxonMobil rakes in billions of dollars in federal contracts each year -- paid for with taxpayer money -- it's stunning that the company is so actively and blatantly out of step with the three-quarters of the American public who support LGBT workplace protections."
As the Associated Press pointed out, the Exxon board argued that the company didn't need to add language regarding LGBT employees to its pre-existing policy, which bans discrimination of any type. Shareholders had previously rejected anti-bias and climate change resolutions in recent years.
Recently, Exxon -- the nation's largest oil and gas company -- received a score below zero on the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) ranking of corporate policies towards LGBT employees.
Exxon officials had reportedly been sent two nearly identical resumes for a job opening at its office in Patoka, Ill. by LGBT advocacy group Freedom to Work in conjunction with a high-powered Washington law firm. One of the fictional applicants had been depicted as a gay rights activist and did not receive a callback despite having significantly higher high school and college grades than the other, who was contacted, according to the AP.
“Exxon is an outlier that refuses to follow industry standards,” lawyer Peter Romer-Friedman told the Los Angeles Times. “The concern is that it’s one of the largest corporations in the world yet won’t adopt an express policy prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.”
Interestingly, Mobil had policies protecting gay and lesbian employees, and it offered domestic partner benefits prior to its 1999 merger with Exxon after the merger, according to the Dallas News. Those policies were rescinded immediately after the merger.