Reliant Energy – Implement Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Policy (2004 – 2005)

Outcome: Successfully Withdrawn

WHEREAS:  Reliant Energy does not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in its written employment policy.
According to a September 2002 survey by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs, 41% of gay and lesbian workers in the United States reported an experience with some form of job discrimination related to sexual orientation; 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.
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.
In not having a written policy that explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, Reliant Energy is increasingly isolated. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HCRF) monitors corporate workplace policies with respect to sexual orientation. Of forty (40) electric power companies in its database, only Reliant Energy does not explicitly prohibit this form of discrimination in its written policies. At least thirty (30) major employers in Houston (including the City of Houston), where our company is headquartered, also have a written policy banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of Fortune 100Ò companies, and more than 80% of the Fortune 500Ò companies, have adopted written nondiscrimination policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, according to HCRF.
We believe that 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;
Fourteen states, the District of Columbia, and more than 200 cities and counties have laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation;
Our company has operations in, and makes sales to, institutions in states and cities that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;
RESOLVED: The Shareholders request that Reliant Energy 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 differ with respect to employment discrimination, our company would benefit from a consistent, corporate-wide policy to enhance efforts to prevent discrimination, resolve complaints internally, and ensure a respectful and supportive atmosphere for all employees.  Reliant Energy will enhance its competitive edge by joining the growing ranks of companies guaranteeing equal opportunity for all employees.

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