- Exxon Mobil will prohibit corporate offices from flying the LGBTQ pride flag outside of their offices.
- Exxon banned “external position flags,” including pride and Black Lives Matter flags, Bloomberg reported.
- In response, Houston employees refuse to represent Exxon in the city’s annual pride parade.
Exxon Mobil will prohibit corporate offices from flying the LGBTQ pride flag outside of their offices.
In a policy first reported by Bloomberg, Exxon banned “external position flags,” including the LGBTQ rights flag and the Black Lives Matter flag. The decision comes ahead of nationwide Pride Month celebrations in June, frustrating several employees at the company’s headquarters in Houston, Texas.
“Corporate leadership opposed flying a rainbow flag at our facilities” last year, Exxon’s PRIDE Houston employee group said in an email seen by Bloomberg. “PRIDE was informed that the rationale focused on the need for the corporation to maintain ‘neutrality.'”
Following the announcement, members of Exxon’s PRIDE group in Houston are refusing to represent the company at the 44th annual Houston LGBT+ Pride celebration in June, Bloomberg reported.
In a statement to Insider, Exxon Mobil said that “the updated flag protocol is intended to clarify the use of the ExxonMobil-branded company flag and is not intended to diminish our commitment to diversity and support of resource groups.” employees”.
“We are committed to maintaining an open, honest and inclusive workplace for all of our employees, and we are saddened that any employee thinks otherwise,” human resources vice president Tracey Gunnlaugsson said in the statement.
The company will allow employees to display flags with logos that represent their employee resource groups, Bloomberg reported. Instead of the traditional and widely recognized pride flag, Exxon policy allows employees to fly a flag that represents the company’s PRIDE group, but does not feature the company logo prominently.
In the email seen by Bloomberg, members of Exxon’s PRIDE Houston employee group said flying the Pride flag is one way corporations “visibly show their care, inclusion and support of LGBTQ+ employees.” The company’s PRIDE employee resource group has approximately 3,000 members worldwide.
“It is difficult to reconcile how ExxonMobil recognizes the value of promoting our corporation as supporting the LGBTQ+ community externally (e.g. ads, Pride marches, social media posts) but now believes it is inappropriate to visibly display support for our LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace.” the PRIDE group said in the email.
The company has developed a reputation for lagging behind on gay rights issues. In 1999, Exxon acquired Mobil and later eliminated Mobil’s policies that protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Exxon changed its anti-discrimination policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity, the New York Times reported.