Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, seems unconcerned about anything but its own profits. The company has given its oil-slick middle finger to its own LGBT employees, to President Obama by continuing to do business with Russia and to the people of New Orleans, who are losing precious wetlands thanks to the political shananigans.
Last Wednesday, May 28, company shareholders voted for the 17th time to deny a policy to protect LGBT workers. The resolution, sponsored again by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, would have simply added LGBT non-discrimination language to the company's existing equal employment opportunity policy. The rejection once again raises the issue of an executive order requiring all companies with federal contracts—such as Exxon Mobil—to protect LGBT workers.
“An executive order by President Obama would force Exxon Mobil to adopt LGBT workplace protections in order to continue profiting from hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded contracts,” said Tico Almeida, President of Freedom to Work. “Exxon’s leadership has rejected these commonsense nondiscrimination policies year after year, even though their competitors at Chevron and BP understand that banning discrimination is good for business. It’s time for presidential leadership to move Exxon to accept the American value that everybody deserves a fair shot in the workplace.”
Exxon Mobil’s blatant disregard comes just as a coalition of LGBT workplace advocates produced a new report showing that LGBT employees face continued discrimination on the job, in hiring, and in perceived wage inequality. A Broken Bargain: Unchecked Discrimination Against LGBT Workers documents how LGBT workers continue to face unfair treatment, harassment, and discrimination, yet no federal law provides explicit legal protections.
The report found, for instance, that workplace conditions can be intolerable but the LGBT employee must cope anyway to sustain a family:
On-the-Job Inequality and Unfair Firing. An LGBT employee may be in a workplace that is blatantly hostile, one that condones anti-gay or anti-transgender jokes and slurs, and/or one where employers look the other way and allow a discriminatory climate to flourish. A 2011 survey found that 58% of LGB workers and 78% of transgender workers had heard derogatory remarks or jokes at work. A different survey found 26% of transgender workers were unfairly fired because they were transgender and 47% said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being ﬁred, not hired, or denied a promotion.
The rejection of protections for LGBT employees came the same day as a news report indicating that several of the U.S.’ largest oil companies are “doubling down in Russia,” despite the Obama administration and the European Union’s attempts to isolate Russia and its economy in response to aggressive moves by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Belfast Telegraph reported:
ExxonMobil and BP separately signed agreements with Rosneft—Russia's state-owned oil company—to extend and deepen their relationships for energy exploration.
The US slapped sanctions on Rosneft's CEO Igor Sechin in late April, freezing his assets and preventing him from obtaining visas.
However, the sanctions do not extend to Rosneft itself, allowing western companies to continue to do business with the Russian oil giant. ExxonMobil signed an agreement with Rosneft, extending its partnership to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on Russia's pacific coast….
The signing of the agreement occurred during a ceremony at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The oil majors attended despite pressure from the White House to boycott the event. Many big name companies chose not to attend even though they have large economic interests in Russia, including PepsiCo, German companies E.ON and Siemens, and some of the biggest banks in the U.S.
By defying the White House, the oil majors salvaged what would have otherwise been an embarrassing event for the Kremlin.
The absence of the world's largest companies would have demonstrated Russia's increasing isolation. Instead, Russia used the event to detail plans to expand its massive energy sector. "(They're) eager to continue work on projects in Russia," Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said of ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell....
To be clear, the oil companies are not legally running afoul of international sanctions. But their collective shrug in the face of European and American pressure to boycott Russia – along with the $400 billion natural gas deal Russia signed with China last week – illustrates the difficulty with which the West will have at undermining Russia's energy sector, if it chose to do so. Russia is too big of a prize for the likes of ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell.
But while the Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil seems to be choosing profits over patriotism—and while touting its environmental record—the company was also among the companies sued by a Louisiana environmental agency to recoup money the agency says the companies owe as part of an important wetlands restoration effort after Hurricane Katrina.
In an investigative report Thursday night, Rachel Maddow looked at how Gov. Bobby Jindal opposed that state agency’s lawsuit and how the state legislature—apparently at the behest of oil and gas lobbyists—passed a bill that would nullify the lawsuit retroactively.
If you care about the environment or New Orleans, please watch this report: