Gardner Denver – Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination (2011)
Outcome: Successfully withdrawn. The company's nondiscrimination policies now cover lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered workers.
Gardner Denver, Inc. does not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (or gender expression) in its written employment policy;
Over 89% of the Fortune 500 companies have adopted written non-discrimination policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as have 95% of Fortune 100 companies, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Nearly 70% of the Fortune 100 and 43% of the Fortune 500 now prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression;
We believe that corporations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression have a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining employees from the widest talent pool;
According to a June 2008 survey by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs, 65% of gay and lesbian workers in the United States reported facing some form of job discrimination related to sexual orientation. An earlier survey found that almost one out of every 10 gay or lesbian adults also reported that they had been fired or dismissed unfairly from a previous job, or pressured to quit a job, because of their sexual orientation;
Twenty-one states, the District of Columbia, and more than 190 cities and counties, have laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation; 16 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 114 cities and counties have laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression;
Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles have adopted legislation restricting business with companies that do not guarantee equal treatment for gay and lesbian employees;
Our company is based in Illinois where at least 192 major employers have sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies and at least 57 include gender identity or expression in their nondiscrimination policies.
Our company has operations in and makes sales to institutions in states and cities that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;
National public opinion polls consistently find more than three quarters of the American people support equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians and bisexuals. In a Gallup poll conducted in May 2007, 89% of respondents favored equal opportunity in employment for gays and lesbians.
This shareholder proposal received a 49% vote at Gardner Denver’s 2010 annual meeting.
The Shareholders request that Gardner Denver amend its written equal employment opportunity policy to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and substantially implement the policy.
Employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity diminishes employee morale and productivity. Because state and local laws are inconsistent with respect to employment discrimination, our company would benefit from a consistent, corporate-wide policy to enhance efforts to prevent discrimination, resolve complaints internally, access employees from the broadest talent pool, and ensure a respectful and supportive atmosphere for all employees. Gardner Denver will enhance its competitive edge by joining the growing ranks of companies guaranteeing equal opportunity for all employees.