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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 25 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 30
Exxon Mobil will comply with executive order against discrimination
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Exxon Mobil will comply with executive order against discriminatione

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Texas oil giant Exxon Mobil said on July 22 that it will comply with the new executive order signed by President Obama requiring federal contractors not to discriminate against LGBT employees.

Exxon, the world's biggest oil and gas company, will 'abide by the law,' spokesperson Alan Jeffers said. The company won more than $480 million in federal contracts last year, and more than $8 billion since 2006.

While Exxon insists that it does not allow discrimination 'on any basis,' it has long resisted writing a formal policy to that effect. In May, Exxon's annual shareholders meeting voted down a proposal to add such language to its equal employment opportunity statement. It was the fifteenth straight year the proposal was rejected.

According to the HRC, 91% of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation as an explicit part of their non-discrimination policies, and 61% explicitly protect against discrimination based on gender identity.

Fluor Corporation - like Exxon Mobil, based in Irving, Texas - and the Washington Post newspaper are the only other companies listed without explicit policies protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation in HRC's 2014 corporate equality index.

Exxon Mobil did offer spousal benefits to legally married same-sex couples in May 2013, however, a month before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA.

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

'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.'

Exxon is currently the defendant in 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 contends the allegations are without merit.

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