Above and Beyond: J.C. Penney Endorses Trillium Asset Management Shareholder Proposal(A)
When a corporation agrees with the substance of a shareholder proposal, nine times out of ten it will agree to implement the proposal and request that the shareholder withdraw it. Make that 999 times out of 1,000 (without exaggeration).
That’s why J.C. Penney’s endorsement of a shareholder proposal jointly sponsored by Trillium Asset Management and the New York City pension funds came as such a pleasant surprise. The proposal asks the company to add the term ‘sexual orientation’ to its written nondiscrimination policy, alongside race, sex, and other federally protected categories. (Federal law does not ban sexual orientation based discrimination, and only 14 states currently do so.) The proposal is one of many sponsored by our firm, the New York City pension funds and other sponsors since the mid-’90s, which have collectively resulted in numerous Fortune 500 companies making the requested change. (For more detail, see our article, “A Banner Year 2003 Shareholder Season Brings Success for Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Proposals.”)
J.C. Penney’s gesture assures that the proposal will receive overwhelming support by shareholders. That’s what we call a vote of confidence.