Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Policy – Sealed Air Corporation (2013)
Outcome: Successfully Withdrawn. The company has updated their employment and non-discrimination policies to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression.
Whereas: Sealed Air does not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in its written employment policy;
Over 86% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted written nondiscrimination policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Additionally, 50% 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 have a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining employees from the widest talent pool.
According to an analysis of surveys conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, 16 to 68 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people report experiencing employment discrimination.
While federal law does not provide sexual orientation and gender identity employment discrimination protection, twenty-one states, the District of Columbia and more than 140 cities and counties, have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. 16 states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.
Over 80 Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in New Jersey, where Sealed Air is headquartered, have policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Sealed Air has operations in, and makes sales to institutions in states and cities that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. And while Sealed Air’s headquarters is located in the state of New Jersey, which affords sexual orientation and gender identity protections, Sealed Air has operations in states and countries that fail to afford the same protection, placing Sealed Air’s 26,000+ employees at risk. We believe a consistent global policy is required. Of the companies surveyed by the Human Rights Campaign, 42 percent have distinct global codes of conduct that are inclusive of both sexual orientation and gender identity.
National public opinion polls consistently find more than three quarters of the American people support equal rights in the workplace for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) employees. For example, in a 2011 poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a vast majority (77 percent) of voters support protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment, reaching across party and ideological lines.
Resolved: The Shareholders request that Sealed Air amend its written equal employment opportunity policy to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to substantially implement the policy.
Supporting Statement: 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, and ensure a respectful and supportive atmosphere for all employees. Sealed Air will enhance its competitive edge by joining the growing ranks of companies guaranteeing equal opportunity for all employees.