SEC turns down ExxonMobil’s bid to block shareholder resolution

Posted on 22 Mar 2012 at 4:19pm

Protest at 2010 ExxonMobil shareholder's meeting in Dallas

The Securities and Exchange Commission rejected an attempt by ExxonMobil to block a shareholder resolution to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the company’s equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy.

The resolution was proposed this year by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on behalf of the state’s pension funds, which own ExxonMobil stock.

Mobil was one of the first companies to offer benefits to its LGBT employees. That company was also a pioneer in banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and had that policy in place for more than a decade before the merger.

Nondiscrimination and benefits were taken away when it merged with Exxon in 1999. At the shareholder meeting held annually at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, an attempt has been made to restore those benefits. The number of shareholders voting for the resolution has increased each year.

At last year’s meeting, votes representing more than 500 million shares supported equality.

The company received a –25 percent score on the Human Right’s Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index last year, the first time a company scored a negative rating. Other oil companies such as Shell, Chevron and BP receive an 85 percent or higher rating. As of 2012, 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their EEO policy and 50 percent include gender identity.

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