PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Following discussions with Equality Forum, a national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) civil rights organization, The Vanguard Group has announced that it will vote in favor of sexual orientation workplace protection in its proxy voting rights. Vanguard is the nation's second-largest mutual fund company, managing approximately $880 billion in assets. "Vanguard is the gold standard for protecting shareholder value," said Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum. "After discussions with Equality Forum, Vanguard determined that a supportive workplace for gay and lesbian employees helps maximize shareholder interest. This decision will influence other mutual funds and positively increase proxy support for sexual orientation nondiscrimination protection." "We believe that fully inclusive employment policies may be reasonably expected to contribute positively to shareholder value," said Glenn Booraem, Principal & Assistant Fund Controller for Vanguard. Exxon Mobil, number two on the FORTUNE 500 list, is one of only 40 of the FORTUNE 500 companies that do not provide nondiscrimination protection for gay and lesbian employees. With 149 million shares, Vanguard is the fourth- largest institutional holder of Exxon Mobil shares. Equality Forum's FORTUNE 500 Project, in collaboration with Professor Louis Thomas of the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania and Professor Ian Ayres of Yale Law School, requests FORTUNE 500 companies to specifically include sexual orientation in their workplace nondiscrimination policies. At the start of the project in 2003, 323 companies (65%) provided nondiscrimination protection. Today, 460 of the FORTUNE 500 companies (92%) now protect gay and lesbian employees. Vanguard's letter stating their policy change, along with more information on the FORTUNE 500 Project, can be found at: http://www.equalityforum.com/fortune500. ABOUT EQUALITY FORUM Equality Forum is a national nonprofit and 501(c)(3) GLBT organization headquartered in Philadelphia. Equality Forum undertakes high impact initiatives, produces documentary films, highlights GLBT history and presents annually the largest national and international GLBT civil rights forum.
SOURCE Equality Forum