US - The New York City comptroller, on behalf of the city's pension funds, has urged 15 companies to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Launching the corporate governance effort, comptroller William C. Thompson urged 15 Fortune 500 companies to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and asked three additional companies to implement policies that prohibit discrimination “based on gender identity”.
Thompson is the custodian and investment adviser to the board of the New York City Employees’ Retirement Fund, the Teachers Retirement System, New York City Police pension fund, New York City Fire Department pension fund and Board of Education Retirement System.
Commenting on the move, Thompson said: “These are extremely important measures that companies should undertake to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and equally. Employees are placed at serious risk when companies do not have formal non-discrimination policies in place.
“The city’s funds will continue to pursue these proposals until corporate America protects all of its employees from discrimination.”
The comptroller said all five funds – except in two cases – had sponsored shareholder proposals submitted over the last few weeks. The funds plan to submit proposals to four more companies in the coming months.
According to a statement from the comptroller’s office, five companies immediately agreed to change their policies in line with the request.
In recent years, the funds have submitted proposals calling for the adoption of a policy that “explicitly prohibits” discrimination based on sexual orientation to a number of Fortune 500 companies with 27 having since amended or agreed to amend their policies.
The comptroller’s office said the funds were further expanding their efforts in 2005 to ask companies to adhere to Equality Principles, a 10-point code of conduct aimed at advancing workplace equality by barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
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