Liu Press Five Companies on Anti-Discrimination

New York City Comptroller John Liu is calling on five companies in which city pension funds have investments totaling nearly $150 million to adopt employment practices protecting their workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The targets of Liu's efforts, all of them Fortune 1000 companies, are KBR, Inc., one of the largest Pentagon contractors; Leggett & Platt, a diversified manufacturer of engineered product components; Anadarko Petroleum, which works in the oil and gas sectors; TECO Energy, which operates energy utilities and extraction facilities in Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, and Guatemala; and Crosstex Energy, a natural gas services company.

“Their refusal to guarantee equal opportunities for all hurts business by excluding talented women and men, and puts their reputations and the investments of the New York City Pension Funds at risk,” Liu said in a written release announcing his efforts. “All employees should feel safe, respected, and accepted in the workplace. This is part of a continuing effort that is good for business, the long-term interests of shareholders and the struggle for equality.”

The release noted that three of the companies – KBR, Leggett & Platt, and Anadarko – have failed to act despite shareholder resolutions that have, in each case, won the support of more than 39 percent of those voting.

According to the comptroller's office, more than 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies have the sexual orientation and gender identity policies Liu is calling for.

In April, Liu announced that shareholder resolution efforts undertaken by the comptroller's office during the most recent proxy season resulted in eight Fortune 1000 companies agreeing to amend their employment nondiscrimination policies to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Five of those eight companies – Manitowoc Company, NACCO Industries, Inc., Old Republic International, Steel Dynamics, Inc., and Torchmark Corporation – for the first time began offering protections of any kind to the LGBT community, adding both sexual orientation and gender identity to their nondiscrimination policies. The other three – Bon-Ton Stores, Flowserve Corporation, and Nalco Company – already offered protections to gay and lesbian employees and prospects, and will now do the same for transgender workers.

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