DALLAS — The Dallas Morning News on Thursday weighed in on ExxonMobil’s 13-year refusal to add workplace protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Texas-based oil giant has repeatedly resisted a implementing a formal policy prohibiting discrimination against LGBT employees, and is the only Fortune 500 company to receive a negative rating in the HRC’s annual Corporate Equality Index.
“Corporate America is now leading the way in extending benefits to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. This quiet revolution has taken place even though it is legal in 29 states, including Texas, to discriminate against employees because of their sexual orientation. […]
The one glaring exception to this positive trend remains Irving-based ExxonMobil.
The fight to make ExxonMobil’s non-discrimination policy LGBT-inclusive dates back to 1999.
Before Mobil Corp. was acquired by Exxon Corp., Mobil prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and offered health benefits to domestic partners of its employees.
Following Mobil’s 1999 merger with Exxon, the non-discrimination policy was removed and the domestic partner benefits program was closed to new employees.
Since that year, 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 March, ExxonMobil again asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow it to omit a resolution, sponsored by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its EEO policies from its shareholder meeting which will be held May 30. The SEC rejected the request to block the shareholder resolution.
“ExxonMobil has resisted offering basic employment protections for their LGBT employees for years,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
“With each passing year, it becomes more apparent that instituting inclusive non-discrimination policies is the right thing to do.”
“This year alone, the New York State Comptroller said it’s fiscally responsible, the SEC cleared a path to progress, and the oil giant’s hometown newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, called on the company to protect all workers.”
“ExxonMobil, the largest publicly traded oil and gas company in the world, should heed the call this time around,” said the Morning News.
“By explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, the company will join the growing community of corporations that now view this as an essential and even indispensable part of doing business,” the newspaper concluded.