The Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) has rejected ExxonMobil's request to block a gay protections
The oil giant wanted a resolution
proposed by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli dropped from
voting by shareholders during its annual shareholders meeting on May
The resolution would add sexual
orientation and gender identity to the company's equal employment
opportunity (EEO) policy.
ExxonMobil now stands alone among
Fortune 50 companies in not offering such protections to its LGBT
The company argued that a “zero
tolerance” policy already in place offered gay employees similar
protections. The SEC disagreed.
“We are unable to concur in your view
that ExxonMobil may exclude the proposal under rule 14a-8(i)(l0).
Based on the information you have presented, it appears that
ExxonMobil's policies, practices, and procedures do not compare
favorably with the guidelines of the proposal and that ExxonMobil has
not, therefore, substantially implemented the proposal. Accordingly,
we do not believe that ExxonMobil may omit the proposal from its
proxy materials in reliance on rule 14a-8(i)(10),” the SEC
said in denying the request.
Prior to being acquired by Exxon Corp.
in 1999, Mobil Corp. prohibited discrimination based on sexual
orientation and offered health benefits to the domestic partners of
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human
Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights advocate, applauded
the SEC's ruling.
“The SEC has cleared a path to
progress for the thousands of LGBT people employed by ExxonMobil,”
Solmonese said in a statement. “The company has been aggressively
resistant to change and is way out of step with their direct
competitors as well as the majority of Fortune 500 companies. Given
this opportunity for change, we call on ExxonMobil shareholders to
adopt a legally binding policy that protects all employees.”
“New York State Comptroller Thomas
DiNapoli deserves special recognition for his ongoing dedication to
ensuring good corporate citizenship and for helping ExxonMobil's LGBT
employees,” he added.
ExxonMobil in December earned HRC's
first-ever negative score on its Corporate Equality Index (CEI),
which rates companies on their workplace policies as they relate to