ExxonMobil has banned LGBTQ flags from being flown outside its offices prompting backlash from some of its employees.
According to Bloomberg, the gas and oil company updated their guideline on acceptable flags that can be displayed outside their corporate offices. They claim to have made this decision to maintain a uniform look.
Tracey Gunnlaugsson, vice president of human resources, told Bloomberg the move is “intended to clarify the use of the ExxonMobil branded company flag and not intended to diminish our commitment to diversity and support for employee resource groups.”
“We’re committed to keeping an open, honest, and inclusive workplace for all of our employees, and we’re saddened that any employee would think otherwise,” Gunnlaugsson added.
This decision comes a little over a month before June, which is celebrated as Pride Month. Employees at the Houston chapter of Exxon’s internal Pride organization have reportedly responded by refusing to represent the company in Houston’s June 25 Pride celebration.
Exxon’s Pride employee resource group has existed since 2008 and currently has about 3,000 members globally. Exxon’s worldwide workforce is about 63,000 in total.
“It is difficult to reconcile how ExxonMobil recognizes the value of promoting our corporation as supportive of the LGBTQ+ community externally (e.g. advertisements, Pride parades, social media posts) but now believes it inappropriate to visibly show support for our LGBTQ+ employees at the workplace,” the group said, according to Bloomberg.
“These types of visible actions are even more impactful for many of our LGBTQ+ colleagues who aren’t out at work and may not feel comfortable participating in PRIDE events,” the group added.
This news also comes amid a fight in Florida over what critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which was signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis this year. This is a bill that forbids instructions on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. Critics argue it limits LGBTQ discussions in schools.