Record 94% of FORTUNE 500 Companies Provide Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection 13 of the 30 Noncompliant Companies Headquartered in Texas



    PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Equality Forum, a
 national and international gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT)
 civil rights organization, announced that 470 (94%) of the 2007 FORTUNE 500
 Companies voluntarily include sexual orientation in their employment
 nondiscrimination policies. Equality Forum collaborates in this project
 with Professor Louis Thomas, Wharton School of the University of
 Pennsylvania, and Ian Ayres, William K. Townsend Professor, Yale Law
 School.
 
     According to Gallup's May 10-13, 2007, Values and Beliefs Poll, 89% of
 U.S. citizens believe that gays and lesbians should have workplace
 discrimination protection. There is no federal workplace protection based
 on sexual orientation and only 20 states include sexual orientation
 nondiscrimination in their workplace statutes.
 
     "When 94% of the FORTUNE 500 Companies and 89% of the public support
 workplace equality, Congress is derelict by its failure to include GLBT
 citizens in federal workplace discrimination protection," stated Malcolm
 Lazin, Executive Director, Equality Forum. "There is no cost to provide
 sexual orientation protection. Corporations and shareholders benefit from a
 workplace where merit, not intolerance, prevails."
 
     Of the 30 FORTUNE 500 Companies that are noncompliant, 13 (43.3%) are
 headquartered in Texas. "When it comes to equality, Texas is a lone and
 tarnished star," Lazin stated.
 
     In fall 2003, when Equality Forum began contacting FORTUNE 500
 Companies, 323 (64.6%) companies provided sexual orientation protection.
 Equality Forum communicated with the 177 (35.4%) CEOs and HR Directors of
 companies not offering that protection. By fall 2004, 405 (81%) FORTUNE 500
 Companies included sexual orientation in workplace nondiscrimination.
 
     In summer 2005, Equality Forum and Professors Thomas and Ayres
 communicated with the 25 largest mutual funds, investment managers,
 university endowments, philanthropic foundations and labor, state and
 municipal pension funds to ask for their support on proxy statements
 requesting sexual orientation protection.
 
     In response, Vanguard was among the large institutional shareholders
 that reviewed this issue and determined that it was in the best shareholder
 interest to support sexual orientation workplace protection. Exxon Mobil is
 one of only two companies in the FORTUNE 100 that does not provide sexual
 orientation protection. At the 2006 and 2007 annual Exxon Mobil
 shareholders meetings, Vanguard supported sexual orientation workplace
 equality by voting its 194 million shares against Exxon Mobil management.
 
     "Wharton has studies that demonstrate that workplace diversity
 including sexual orientation is in the best corporate and shareholder
 interest," stated Professor Louis Thomas. "This workplace protection
 likewise sends an affirming message to the estimated $660 billion annual
 domestic GLBT consumer market."
 
     "The FORTUNE 500 Companies that include that protection contractually
 obligate the corporation to workplace equality," said Professor Ian Ayres,
 Yale Law School. "Since the inception of the FORTUNE 500 project, an
 additional 147 (29.4%) FORTUNE 500 Companies now provide sexual orientation
 protection to a combined workplace of over 15 million employees."
 
     "Equality Forum salutes GLBT workplace groups, Out & Equal Workplace
 Advocates, Human Rights Campaign and others for their efforts on behalf of
 workplace equality," stated Kevin Ray, Esq., Board Chair, Equality Forum.
 
     For more information on the FORTUNE 500 Project, visit
 http://www.equalityforum.com/fortune500. The names of the FORTUNE 500
 Companies that are compliant and noncompliant are listed alphabetically and
 by revenue size, industry and the state in which they are headquartered.
 
     Equality Forum is a national and international GLBT civil rights
 organization with an educational focus. Equality Forum undertakes high
 impact national initiatives, coordinates GLBT History Month, produces
 documentary films and presents the largest annual national and
 international GLBT civil rights forum. For more information about Equality
 Forum, please visit http://www.equalityforum.com.
 
 
 
 

SOURCE Equality Forum

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