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Exxon Fails Sexual Orientation Discrimination Test

California law protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. While not all states offer the same protections, many corporations have adopted their own non-discrimination policies that encompass these same topics.

Not Exxon Mobil, at least according to two gay-rights groups. The oil and gas giant is now defending itself against a complaint filed with the Illinois Human Rights Department that claims the company discriminates against openly gay applicants, or at least applicants who are perceived to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

In the complaint, it is alleged the Exxon was sent two nearly identical resumes and applications for an opening at the company, with the only difference being a slightly higher academic performance by the applicant who also identified as a gay-rights activist. Exxon called the other applicant for an interview, but not the candidate who identified as a supporter of gay rights.

According to attorneys involved with the group that sent the applications to Exxon, the same procedure has been used to root out discrimination against women and against black job and housing applicants in other cases.

A spokesperson for Exxon Mobil denies that the company fails to protect employees and applicants from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The company asserts that it has a worldwide policy of non-discrimination of any sort, including based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

For several years, however, the Board has declined to approve a shareholder-filed resolution to explicitly ban discrimination of gay and lesbian employees and applicants in its equal opportunity statement. The board has claimed that the additional language is unnecessary and already incorporated into the company's non-discrimination policy.

Source: Huffington Post Business, "Exxon Mobil Accused Of Anti-Gay Bias By Activist Group," May 22, 2013

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