It’s not uncommon for large companies such as ExxonMobil to be the target of political campaigns, which has been the case with efforts by a small number of very vocal advocates of the LGBT community.
They’ve long accused the company of discrimination for not explicitly referencing sexual orientation and gender identity in our Equal Employment Opportunity and Harassment in the Workplace policy as listed in our Standards of Business Conduct.
Let us be absolutely clear: ExxonMobil does not discriminate, will not discriminate, and has not discriminated against members of the LGBT community. Period.
ExxonMobil’s EEO policy is written to comply with federal legal requirements here in the United States, but is only part of our corporate employment nondiscrimination policies.
Our policies align with all applicable laws and regulations worldwide. They prohibit all forms of discrimination – including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Harassment, even in its most subtle forms, directly conflicts with company policy and is not tolerated. Every employee is subject to disciplinary action, including termination, for any violation of our employment nondiscrimination policies.
Efforts to paint ExxonMobil as discriminatory and homophobic have been part of a campaign to get the U.S. government to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a list of legally protected statuses that currently includes race, color, sex, religion, age and disability, among others.
Just this week, the federal government moved in that direction, when President Obama issued an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against sexual orientation and gender identity.
When the president announced plans to sign the order, two organizations issued statements praising the president while condemning ExxonMobil. Those groups are quoted in this Wall Street Journal story.
The strategy worked so well that after the president signed the executive order, the Associated Press singled out ExxonMobil for special treatment with another story that practically accuses us of discrimination – for following the law.
The AP reporter wanted to know if we would go along with the executive order. In other words, would we comply with the law?
Talk about a dog-bites-man story. We did not discriminate before the executive order was issued and of course we will comply with the executive order and the accompanying Labor Department regulations.
But the fact that a normally balanced news organization such as the Associated Press would write a nearly 600 word story about a company complying with the law shows the power of the campaign.
ExxonMobil operates in most of the world’s countries with one of the most diverse workforces, made up of myriad of nationalities, religions, races and cultures and other differences that I would challenge anyone to match.
We celebrate and support diversity, including through employee networks that provide mentoring, coaching and strategies to enhance personal and professional development, and which encourage and facilitate open communication with all levels of management on diversity and inclusion issues relevant to their membership.
One such employee network, PRIDE – which stands for People for Respect, Inclusion and Diversity of Employees – supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, and encourages awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion issues around sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the workplace.
ExxonMobil’s commitment to inclusion and diversity is woven into our operations, leadership-development curriculum and our employee performance-assessment system. Moreover, mandatory training for every single ExxonMobil employee emphasizes that workers are protected from harassment and discrimination – of all kinds, including sexual orientation.
Valuing and respecting diversity doesn’t take a political campaign or an executive order. It makes good business sense.