ExxonMobil bans Pride flag and others on company masts

Some ExxonMobil LGBTQ+ employees are outraged by the company’s decision to ban the Pride flag and other flags representing outside groups from company flagpoles.

The Pride flag and others may be displayed in other areas, “including on lawns or in digital spaces”, The New York Times reports. And flags representing company-approved employee resource groups, such as the LGBTQ+ group, may be flown on company flagpoles, and they, along with government flags, are the only ones approved for such use.

“The updated flag protocol is intended to clarify the use of the ExxonMobil branded corporate flag and is not intended to diminish our commitment to diversity and support for employee resource groups,” said Tracey Gunnlaugsson. , vice president of human resources, in a statement to Bloomberg News. , which was the first outlet to report on the issue. “We are committed to maintaining an open, honest and inclusive workplace for all of our employees, and are saddened that any employee may feel otherwise.”

Some employees think otherwise. The Houston chapter of the LGBTQ+ group will not represent the company at the city’s Pride Parade on June 25, Bloomberg reports.

‘Company management objected to a rainbow flag being flown over our facilities’ in 2021, Exxon’s PRIDE Houston Group wrote in an email seen by the press office. . “PRIDE was advised that the rationale centered on the company’s need to maintain ‘neutrality’.”

“Employee resource groups were only superficially consulted on this, due to a momentary discomfort in displaying a symbol of openness and support for long-suppressed voices,” J. Chris Martin, who once led the ExxonMobil LGBTQ+ group but is no longer with the company, said the Time. Current employees have not commented on either the Time or Bloomberg.

The Human Rights Campaign denounced ExxonMobil’s decision on Twitter.

“We stand with Exxon’s LGBTQ+ employees and hope that Exxon leaders understand that there is no ‘neutrality’ when it comes to our rights. Our flag is not just a visual representation of our identities . It is also an essential part of the alliance,” the group writes.

ExxonMobil has lagged most other energy companies in supporting LGBTQ+ employees. When Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999, Mobil had an LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination policy and domestic partner benefits, but Exxon did not. The combined company rescinded the non-discrimination policy and ended new enrollments in the benefits program, although those already enrolled could still receive the benefits. He reinstated domestic partner benefits in 2014, then in 2015 agreed to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. ExxonMobil had asserted that it prohibited all types of discrimination, but did not list those types.

The decision to add these details to the anti-discrimination policy came after extensive lobbying of the company by activists and the issuance of an executive order by President Barack Obama prohibiting anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination by companies holding contracts. with the federal government, a category that includes ExxonMobil.