Notorious for denying benefits to the partners of its gay and lesbian employees, even stripping those benefits that had offered by Mobil when it subsumed that company in an acquisition, will now be extending the same benefits to all married employees.
The company says it will recognize “all legal marriages” when it determines eligibility for health care plans for the company’s 77,000 employees and retirees in the U.S. That means if a gay employee has been married in a state or country where gay marriage is legal, his or her spouse will be eligible for benefits with the company starting next year.
Despite this extension of benefits to same sex married couples ExxonMobil still faces a major anti-gay discrimination lawsuit in Illinois for it’s hiring practices.
Tico Almeida, the founder and president of that group, Freedom to Work, cheered Friday’s announcement – sort of.
“After years of stubbornly refusing, we commend Exxon for joining the majority of the Fortune 500 business leaders that already treat gay and lesbian married couples equally under employee benefit plans. It’s a shame Exxon waited until after the Labor Department issued official guidance explaining that their old policy does not comply with American law, and now it’s time to move forward.
We’d like to begin settlement talks next week in our Illinois lawsuit stemming from evidence that Exxon gave hiring preference to a less qualified straight applicant over a more qualified lesbian applicant. It’s time for Exxon to stop wasting its shareholders’ money by running up legal bills on discrimination proceedings that can be settled right away if the corporation would simply add LGBT protections to Exxon’s official equal employment opportunity document.”