All people deserve to have their dignity and rights protected in the workplace.
Today, shareholders at ExxonMobil will vote on a resolution proposed by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The company's refusal to substantially implement a written equal employment policy allows ExxonMobil to continue to deny domestic partner benefits to its employees in the United States and is in conflict with anti-discrimination and marriage equality statutes in New York State.
The $150.3 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund holds approximately 16.2 million shares of ExxonMobil with an estimated market value of $1.3 billion. 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.
The Comptroller has urged companies in which the Fund invests to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. DiNapoli believes that companies that do so reap the benefit of drawing from the widest pool of talent possible to grow their business and mitigate their risk of litigation and potential reputational harm. Over the past few years, DiNapoli has reached agreements with 27 portfolio companies to adopt new non-discrimination policies.
Advocates and even ExxonMobil's hometown newspaper have come out in support of the resolution.
Last week, the Dallas Morning News applauded DiNapoli's efforts, saying, "His sound argument is that companies that extend protection to all employees have a competitive advantage in drawing workers and mitigate their risk of litigation."
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said, “ExxonMobil has resisted offering basic employment protections for their LGBT employees for years. 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”
Empire State Pride Agenda Interim Executive Director Lynn A. Faria said, “Comptroller DiNapoli’s principled stand for the right of all people to be equally protected in the workplace is commendable, and we appreciate that he is using his role as one of the nation’s largest institutional investors to push for LGBT equality and justice."
Comptroller DiNapoli has been active on this and other issues of corporate responsibility in his role as the fiduciary of the pension fund. We encourage you to follow the Comptroller on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/tom.dinapoli for the latest news on this and other initiatives.
BREAKING: ExxonMobil shareholders again reject LGBT employment protections (with photos)
Posted on 30 May 2012 at 11:38am