ConocoPhillips Accepts Unitarian Universalist Association Proposal to Amend Non-Discrimination Policy
Move is "A Responsible Act for Company's Work Force"
(Boston, February 28, 2003) Petroleum giant ConocoPhillips has made a sound business move by amending its employment non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation, according to John Hurley, Director of Information and Public Witness for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The decision comes after the Unitarian Universalist Association notified the company of its intent to file a shareholder resolution to include sexual orientation in the company's non-discrimination policy.
"We applaud the wisdom of the decision made by the ConocoPhillips Board of Directors for its consideration of the shareholder filing, made December 2, 2002, by the UUA," said Hurley, "and the board's prompt action to adopt the sexual orientation non-discrimination policy to better serve the needs and interests of its employees."
The UUA undertook its action in conjunction with a broad initiative by concerned shareholders, including The Equality Project, to confront the companies included in the Fortune 100 which had not yet explicitly adopted sexual orientation in their employment non-discrimination policies.
The ConocoPhillips initiative and decision leaves ExxonMobil Corporation as the only U.S. company ever to rescind a sexual orientation non-discrimination policy.
"ConocoPhillips is and always has been deeply committed to fair and nondiscriminatory treatment for all employees," ConocoPhillips' management committee said in a statement obtained by the Human Rights Campaign. "The management committee," continued ConocoPhillips, "has amended (effective immediately) the company's EEO policy to include the term 'sexual orientation' to more accurately reflect this commitment."
A total of 307 of the Fortune 500 have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, according to HRC WorkNet, which tracks this and other workplace trends. Oil companies with sexual orientation non-discrimination policies include Amerada Hess; Shell Oil Co.; BP; ChevronTexaco Corp.; Marathon Oil Corp.; Occidental Petroleum; Sunoco Inc.; and Valero Energy Corp.
The recent merger made ConocoPhillips, based in Houston, Texas, the third largest oil and gas company in America behind ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco. ExxonMobil rescinded Mobil's non-discrimination policy in December 1999 when the companies merged. At the same time, it closed Mobil's domestic partner benefits program to any more employees.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work, and in the community.