For the 14th year in a row, shareholders of ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, have soundly rejected a proposal that would have added homosexuality to the company's non-discrimination employment policy. The proposal, voted down by an overwhelming 81 percent of ExxonMobil's shareholders on May 30 read, “The Shareholders request that ExxonMobil amend its written equal employment opportunity policy to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to substantially implement the policy.”
While the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” do not appear in the company's written policy on discrimination, ExxonMobil insists its “global zero-tolerance policy” fully applies to “all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” The company said in a statement that harassment, “even in its most subtle forms, directly conflicts with company policy and will not be tolerated. All employees are subject to disciplinary action, including termination, for any act of harassment.”
In a proxy statement before the vote, ExxonMobil's board of directors encouraged the shareholders to reject the proposal, which would have added anti-discrimination language specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. “The Board has reviewed in detail ExxonMobil’s existing global policies that prohibit all forms of discrimination, including those based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in any Company workplace, anywhere in the world,” the statement read. “In fact, ExxonMobil’s policies go beyond the law and prohibit any form of discrimination. Based on these existing all-inclusive, zero-tolerance policies, the Board believes the proposal is unnecessary.”
Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association said that had the shareholders approved the proposal, “the company would have been forced to begin promoting and providing 'acceptance' training of homosexuality to all employees, even if they had religious objections.”
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