Emerson Electric – Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Policy (2002 – 2003)

Outcome: 9.9%

WHEREAS: our Company has pledged its commitment to principles of non-discrimination, but has not in its company-wide, written equal employment opportunity policy explicitly barred discrimination based on sexual orientation;
WHEREAS: employment discrimination and the denial of equal benefits on the basis of sexual orientation diminishes employee morale and productivity;
WHEREAS: a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force study revealed that between 16% and 44% of gay men and lesbians in twenty cities nationwide have experienced some form of workplace harassment or discrimination related to their sexual orientation;
WHEREAS: San Francisco, Atlanta and New York have adopted and other jurisdictions are considering adopting legislation restricting business with companies which do not guarantee equal treatment for lesbian and gay employees;
WHEREAS: our Company has operations in and makes sales to public institutions in states and cities, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;
WHEREAS: our Company has an interest in preventing discrimination and resolving complaints internally to avoid costly litigation or damage to our reputation as an equal opportunity employer;
WHEREAS: hundreds of major corporations have adopted sexual orientation non-discrimination policies including General Electric, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Boeing, and Coca-Cola, leaving our Company behind;
WHEREAS: national polls have consistently found more than three-quarters of Americans support equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians and bisexuals;
RESOLVED: The Shareholders request the Board of Directors to amend Emerson’s company-wide written equal employment opportunity policy to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: Sexual orientation discrimination is a morally wrong and self-defeating business practice.  By adopting and implementing a clear and equitable policy, our Company will ensure a respectful and supportive atmosphere for all employees and enhance its competitive edge by joining the growing ranks of major companies guaranteeing equal opportunity for all employees.

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