Illinois Department of Human Rights rules in favor of Freedom to Work and finds ‘Substantial Evidence’ of Anti-Gay Bias at ExxonMobil
In a January 30, 2015 ruling, the Illinois Department of Human Rights found substantial evidence that Exxon engaged in sexual orientation discrimination in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act.
The decision comes nearly two years after Freedom to Work filed a charge of discrimination against ExxonMobil asserting that Exxon gave an unlawful hiring preference to a lesser qualified straight applicant over a better qualified lesbian applicant. In December 2012, Freedom to Work undertook employment testing with the experts at the Equal Rights Center, who submitted nearly identical resumes to Exxon for a position in Exxon’s Patoka, Illinois office. Exxon responded by contacting the less qualified straight applicant three times to invite her to interview, but never contacted the better qualified lesbian applicant. Today’s decision means that the Department of Human Rights has agreed to take Freedom to Work’s side in the non-profit group’s action against Exxon, and will co-prosecute the action before the Illinois Human Rights Commission later this year.
Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, said: “Exxon was recently forced by President Obama’s executive order to add gay and transgender employees to the corporation’s equal employment policies, but those were merely changes on paper. We must ensure that LGBT employees actually get a fair shot in their careers at Exxon, not just on paper. Freedom to Work will continue to prosecute this civil rights case and hold Exxon accountable for its anti-gay discriminatory conduct from the recent past.”