Exxon Mobil is drawing a line when it comes to displaying flags of outside organizations on company property. It’s a decision that comes as Disney continues to grapple with the state of Florida about being outspoken on cultural issues instead of just…well, focusing on running its business.
Exxon’s decision is a completely reasonable move that the company is well within its rights to do, so naturally it has drawn the ire of “some employees who in the past had flown a rainbow pride flag”, the NY Times reported this weekend.
The company’s policy now allows only “government flags and those representing Exxon Mobil and its employee resource groups”, the report says. If workers want to display Black Lives Matter or pride flags, they will have to do so on other parts of company properties than on their flagpoles.
Other flags can be flown “on lawns or in digital spaces”, the report says.
Tracey Gunnlaugsson, vice president of human resources at Exxon Mobil, said: “It is a longstanding practice at our facilities around the world that E.R.G. flags can be flown during signature months. The flags are directly related to our business and company support of our E.R.G.s.”
Meanwhile, a logo for the company’s employee resource group for L.G.B.T. employees has been flown at offices and is used on t-shirts that employees wear to Pride parades. One former employee who used to head the resource group told the New York Times that the company used to fly a different pride flag “at many company locations last year without question”.
He said approval of that flag was pulled “without explanation”. He also told the NYT: “I’m also told that the employee resource groups were consulted only in a perfunctory way regarding this matter, based on momentary discomfort with displaying a symbol of open-mindedness and support for long-suppressed voices.”
He continued: “While they may say nobody has lost anything, the symbolism is unmistakable.”