One major oil company is preventing the flying of banners representing political partisanship or any outside organizations on its flagpoles.
ExxonMobil has updated guidance on acceptable flags which can be displayed outside offices, which included banning "external position flags," including the pride flag and Black Lives Matter flag.
The decision was not meant to attack diversity. “The updated flag protocol 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,” Tracey Gunnlaugsson, vice president of human resources, said in a statement. “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.”
Flags representing employee resource groups at the company can be displayed, according to a spokesperson.
"The flags are directly related to our business and company support of our ERGs, including PRIDE for LGBTQ+ employees," the spokesperson said.
Detractors immediately attacked the move. "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," said an LGBT employees group.
The dispute comes as employees, investors and customers in the U.S. push the biggest corporations to take stances on social issues such as LGBTQ rights, racial equality and abortion.