Exxon Mobil will ban ‘external positional flags’ like the LGBTQ Rainbow Pride Flag from flying outside its offices
Exxon Mobil will prohibit company offices from flying the LGBTQ pride flag outside of its offices.
In a policy first reported by Bloomberg, Exxon has banned external positional flags, including the LGBTQ rights flag and the Black Lives Matter flag. The decision comes ahead of national Pride Month celebrations in June, frustrating several employees at the company’s headquarters in Houston, Texas.
‘Company management objected to having a rainbow flag flown over our facilities’ last year, Exxon’s PRIDE Houston employee group said in an email seen by Bloomberg. “PRIDE was advised that the rationale centered on the company’s need to maintain its ‘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.
Exxon Mobil did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but told Bloomberg “the updated flag protocol is intended to clarify use of the ExxonMobil-branded company flag and is not intended to diminish our commitment to diversity and support for employee resource groups.
“We are committed to maintaining an open, honest and inclusive workplace for all of our employees, and we are saddened that any employee may feel otherwise,” Vice President of Human Resources Tracey Gunnlaugsson told Bloomberg in a statement. .
The company will allow employees to display flags with logos representing 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 prominently feature the company logo.
In the email seen by Bloomberg, members of Exxon’s PRIDE Houston employee group said the pride flag was a way for companies “to visibly show their care, inclusion and support for employees. LGBTQ+”. The company’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group has approximately 3,000 members worldwide.
“It’s hard to reconcile how ExxonMobil recognizes the value of promoting our company as supporting the LGBTQ+ community externally (e.g. ads, pride parades, social media posts) but now believes it is inappropriate to visibly show support for our LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace,” the PRIDE group said in the email.
The company has earned a reputation for being lagging behind on gay rights issues. In 1999, Exxon acquired Mobil and later eliminated Mobil policies protecting employees against 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.