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:
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