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Exxon Mobil faces lawsuit over alleged anti-gay bias

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The Illinois Human Rights Commission overturned a lower body’s decision to dismiss the case of LGBT discrimination at US oil major ExxonMobil and a lawsuit will now move forward, Washington Blade reported, ria. ru reports.

“The Respondent’s dismissal of Freedom to Work’s charge is vacated and Freedom to Work’s charge is reinstated and remanded to the Respondent for further investigation and other proceedings to consistent with this Order and the Act,” Washington Blade quoted the order signed by Illinois Human Rights Commission executive director N. Keith Chambers as stating.

The Illinois Human Rights Commission is a 13-member body that determines cases of discrimination in the Illinois state.

In May 2013, Freedom to Work organization filed the complaint alleging that ExxonMobil was in violation of a 2005 Illinois law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT communities on the basis of two CVs sent to the company’s HR department.

One CV was from a well-qualified applicant who mentioned that she was a member of LGBT community. Another job application was from a less-qualified person who said nothing about her sexual orientation. The second applicant was offered a place in the company.

The Illinois Department of Human Rights earlier dismissed the case as no employer-employee relationship between Freedom to Work and ExxonMobil was established.

As the complaint will go forward now, president of Freedom to Work Tico Almeida said that ExxonMobil would now have to update its policies to avoid discrimination and create an equal opportunity environment in the workplace.

“This oil giant has a lot to lose here, and it should be clear that the clock is ticking and it’s now time to update Exxon’s policies to give LGBT Americans a fair shot on the job,” Washington Blade cited Almeida as saying.

ExxonMobil spokesperson Scott Silvestri said that sexual orientation played no role in hiring decision and argued Freedom to Work’s complaint is “baseless and without merit.”

On Monday, US President Barack Obama signed a new law protecting federal LGBT contractors from discrimination. If ExxonMobil, which received more than $1 billion in federal contracts over past years, wants to continue working with the US government, it will have to ensure LGBT people do not experience harassment, mistreatment or discrimination at work.

The regulation of LGBT employment discrimination in the United States varies by jurisdiction. Almost half of US states do not provide protection for LGBT employees.

July 23 2014, 16:03

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