JC Penney – Implement a Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Policy (2002 – 2003)
WHEREAS: JC Penney does not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in its written employment policy;
Our industry competitors and peers, Federated Department Stores, May Department Stores, Sears, Nordstrom, and Abercrombie & Fitch, do explicitly prohibit this form on discrimination in their written policies;
More than half of the Fortune 500 companies have adopted written nondiscrimination policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as have more than 75% of Fortune 100 companies;
A 2000 study by Hewitt Associates, a compensation and management consulting firm, found that 64 percent of large employers prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;
The hundreds of corporations with nondiscrimination policies that reference sexual orientation have a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining employees from the widest talent pool;
According to a recent survey by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs, 41% of gay and lesbian workers in the United States report facing some form of hostility or harassment on the job; almost one out of every 10 gay or lesbian adults also stated that they had been fired or dismissed unfairly from a previous job, or pressured to quit a job because of their sexual orientation;
Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles have adopted legislation restricting business with companies that do not guarantee equal treatment for lesbian and gay employees, and similar legislation is pending in other jurisdictions;
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; for example, in a Gallup poll conducted in June 2001, 85% of respondents favored equal opportunity in employment for gays and lesbians;
RESOLVED: The Shareholders request that JC Penney amend its written equal employment opportunity policy to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and to substantially implement that policy.
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: Employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation diminishes employee morale and productivity. Because state and local laws are inconsistent with respect to employment discrimination, our company would benefit by a consistent, corporate-wide policy to enhance efforts to prevent discrimination, resolve complaints internally, and ensure a respectful and supportive atmosphere for all employees. JC Penney will enhance its competitive edge by joining the growing ranks of companies guaranteeing equal opportunity for all employees.