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Tico Almeida ’04JD: taking on Exxon Mobil

Exxon Mobil shareholders voted this week—for the 14th consecutive year—to reject a resolution banning discrimination against gay people. Now, gay rights activist Tico Almeida ’04JD is trying a different tactic.

Almeida is founder and president of Freedom to Work, a national LGBT organization focused on workplace discrimination. Last week, just days before the May 29 Exxon Mobil shareholders vote, Freedom to Work filed what it calls a groundbreaking discrimination complaint against the petroleum giant.

Exxon Mobil says its “policies go beyond the law and prohibit any form of discrimination,” making it “unnecessary” to add explicit protection based on sexual orientation. But in the US, the company does not extend spousal benefits to same-sex couples—even those who are legally married in their home states—and repealed such protections when it acquired Mobil Oil in 1999, according to the New York Times.

What’s more, Almeida says, Exxon Mobil actively discriminates against gay job applicants.

To prove it, Freedom to Work sent nearly identical résumés for an opening in Illinois, where state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. One fictitious candidate got called for an interview. The other, whose résumé identified her as a gay activist, did not.

"Exxon has repeatedly claimed they do not discriminate," Almeida tells USA Today. "We are bringing forward proof they've broken the law, and we're hopeful this compelling case will move them over the tipping point."

Filed under lgbtq, Exxon Mobil, Tico Almeida, Law School
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