Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Exxon Mobil says it will follow new anti-bias rules
Discrimination » Company will comply with Obama directive protecting gay employees.
First Published Jul 22 2014 08:12 pm • Last Updated Jul 22 2014 08:12 pm

Irving, Texas • Exxon Mobil Corp. has said it will comply with the new protections for gay and transgender employees required of federal contractors, while still sidestepping the question of whether it will formalize that by changing the language of its corporate policy.

Following President Barack Obama’s signing of an executive order Monday expanding protections for federal workers and contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Labor Department has 90 days to issue regulations for how employers must comply.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Exxon, which according to government records won more than $480 million in federal contracts in 2013 and more than $8 billion since 2006, has long resisted pressure from civil rights groups and shareholders to enumerate such protections in its formal policy.

The world’s biggest oil and gas company by market value will continue to "abide by the law," spokesman Alan Jeffers said Tuesday.

He wouldn’t say if that meant changing the language in the company’s formal equal employment opportunity policy, but stressed that Exxon prohibits "discrimination on any basis."

According to the Human Rights Campaign, which supports gay rights and gay marriage, 91 percent of Fortune 500 companies include anti-gay bias as an explicit part of their non-discrimination policies, and 61 percent explicitly protect against discrimination based on gender identity. Irving-based Fluor Corp. and the company formerly known as the Washington Post Co., now Graham Holdings Co., are the only other companies listed without explicit policies protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation in Human Rights Campaign’s 2014 corporate equality index.

In May, Exxon shareholders voted down a proposal for the 15th consecutive year to add such language to its equal employment opportunity statement, maintaining that the business standards stated on a company web site ensure protections without having to specifically name them.

The proposal, backed since 2010 by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli on behalf of the New York State Employees Retirement System, has never gained majority shareholder support. It won 20 percent of voters this year holding roughly $41.5 billion in Exxon stock.

"They say they don’t need to because it’s not an issue, but we don’t agree. Without clear written policies that are very specifically stated, employees aren’t clearly entitled to equal benefits," DiNapoli said.

Natasha Lamb of the private equity group Arjuna Capital, another Exxon Mobil shareholder, said she’s confident the company will comply with the executive order to the letter.


story continues below
story continues below

"I can’t imagine Exxon would compromise a federal contract over a couple of words," she said. "That would be juvenile. Once regulation is in place, they will follow suit and act in the best interest of shareholders."

The company began offering benefits to legally married same-sex couples in May 2013, a month before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which had allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states.

But Exxon is facing a same-sex discrimination complaint in Illinois. Last year, the group Freedom to Work sent the company two fictitious resumes for a job opening in Illinois. One resume had stronger qualifications, but identified the applicant as gay. Exxon Mobil responded to the lesser-qualified applicant’s resume while the gay applicant received no reply.

Earlier this month, the Illinois Human Rights Commission overturned a lower body’s decision to dismiss the case. Exxon has said the allegations are without merit.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.