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Exxon shows lack of support for gays, lesbians

The term Equal Opportunity does not appear in the Exxon Employment Bill of Rights. The corporate giant maintains a determined stance to oppose hiring gays and lesbians in the workplace. Next week, Exxon will once again have the issue on its shareholder ballet. This makes the 14th year in a row it has appeared there.

Although the company petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to leave the proposal off its ballot, the request was denied. The New York State Comptroller backed the proposal, just as every year before, beginning in 2010.

Current corporate trends have steadily allowed moved forward on the gay and lesbian rights issue; however, Exxon has persisted in straying from the mainstream of its competitors. The New York State Comptroller said Exxon is really risking being able to attract and keep talent because this message says employees and applicants can be discriminated against for criteria that is not related to the job.

Ironically, in 22 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in many countries abroad, the law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation as a violation of basic employment rights. Exxon has non-discrimination policies for sexual orientation in place in countries that require it by law. In some cases, the company even provides benefits to same-sex married couples. The company has been adamant about avoiding this procedure in the United States, even taking away such policies and benefits when it acquired Mobil Oil in 1999 and XTO Energy in 2009.

Exxon's anti-gay policies may create a backlash effect as acquisition of new talent could decline among potential candidates who will refuse to work at a company that does not support equal employment policies for same sex candidates. Spokespersons continue to maintain that the board regularly votes on such policies, but deliberations are private. They have also claimed the company culture is consistent with policies and will not budge until they are forced to do so.

If you believe you have been discriminated because of your sexual orientation, you should contact a New York employee rights attorney. You can find out more about your rights and your attorney can explain your options in a possible civil action.

Source:  nytimes.com, "Exxon Defies Calls to Add Gays to Anti-Bias Policy" James B. Steward, May. 24, 2013

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