WASHINGTON - May 31 - ExxonMobil shareholders voted today with record support for a resolution to add “sexual orientation” to the company’s written equal employment opportunity policy. The percentage of shares voted in favor of the proposal has grown each of the last seven years, with 34.6 percent of shares voting in favor of the policy this year, an increase from 29.4 percent in 2005. A more than 5 percent increase is exceptional for a shareholder vote and represents about 1.75 billion total shares voted in favor of the proposal.
“The long-term energy needs of ExxonMobil customers are in no way served by policies that ignore hardworking gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “The company claims it already has this policy, yet it stands alone as the only Fortune 50 company that refuses to write it down. It’s our hope that the company’s new CEO takes this vote as a strong signal to join its competitors, many of whom protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation as well as gender identity and allow employees to provide health insurance for their domestic partners.”
In May 2004, 28.9 percent of shares were voted in favor of the policy. A total of 427 companies in the Fortune 500 — or 85 percent — include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies and 81 include gender identity.
BP Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Corp., Shell Oil Company, Sunoco Inc., Valero Energy Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and Williams Companies Inc. all have non-discrimination statements inclusive of sexual orientation.
The Human Rights Campaign was on hand at the annual shareholder meeting along with representatives from NorthStar Asset Management and lead filer NYCERS. A group of 21 organizations, including HRC, make up the Coalition to Promote Equality at ExxonMobil.
Mobil Corp. offered such written protection, and domestic partner benefits, to its employees; however, upon its 1999 merger with Exxon, the basic non-discrimination protection was removed and the domestic partner benefits program closed to new employees. Twenty-four members of Congress, and thousands of stockholders and consumers, wrote to ExxonMobil Chairman Lee R. Raymond in December 1999 to protest the policy reversals. In January 2000, stockholders and activists protested at a company facility in Houston, causing the facility to close for the day.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.