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Mon, 02/04/2002 - 13:00 | by Wesley Furgiuele
February 4, 2002
INVESTORS URGE EMERSON TO BAR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GAYS, LESBIANS
Pride Foundation and Domini Social Investments Say Company’s Employment Policies Should Forbid Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation
NEW YORK, NY & SEATTLE, WA – Pride Foundation, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community foundation has filed a shareholder resolution with Emerson. (Ticker: EMR) requesting that the electrical equipment manufacturer amend its employment opportunity policy to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The resolution was co-filed with Domini Social Investments, manager of the Domini Social Equity Fund (NASDQ: DSEFX), the nation’s oldest and largest socially responsible index fund, and Ms. Janet Francis King, a private investor concerned about discrimination in the workplace.
The shareholder resolution will be brought before Emerson’s annual shareholder meeting to take place on February 5, 2002. An identical resolution brought before last year’s annual meeting was defeated but received over 12% approval, entitling the filers to bring the resolution forward again this year. Ongoing negotiations with Emerson have been unsuccessful.
“Emerson executives have stated their commitment to non-discrimination based on sexual orientation,” said Adam Kanzer, Domini’s Director of Shareholder Advocacy. “We applaud the company for this commitment, but an internal, unwritten policy is not enough. We want Emerson to formalize this policy by putting it in writing for employees, customers and all the world to see.”
“Nearly 300 Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies,” continued Kanzer. “According to the Human Rights Campaign, over the past year, approximately 41 Fortune 500 companies joined these ranks by amending their policies. We are asking Emerson to join these companies in ensuring a fair workplace.”
“We want Emerson Electric to be inclusive, to attract and retain the best employees, and to send a message to gay and lesbian workers that they are valued and respected,” added Audrey Haberman, Executive Director of Pride Foundation. “Non-discrimination policies are not official until they are put in writing, and until they are, Emerson will fall short of these goals.”
“Discrimination is bad business and I am glad Emerson doesn’t practice it,” stated Janet Francis King. “Lets let the world hear about our good business by adding words to our actions.”
The shareholder resolution cited a study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force finding significant levels of workplace discrimination and harassment against gay men and lesbians in twenty American cities.
Since 1987, Pride Foundation has funded more than $3 million in grants and scholarships to strengthen the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Located in Washington state, the Foundation has worked successfully with General Electric and McDonald’s to add sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination policies. Pride Foundation stewards a $4.5 million endowment.
Domini Social Investments manages more than $1.9 billion in assets for individual and institutional investors seeking to create positive change in society by integrating social and environmental values into their investment decisions. Its flagship fund, the Domini Social Equity Fund, was the first socially and environmentally screened index fund and is the nation’s largest socially responsible index fund. The Fund includes companies with positive records in community involvement, the environment, diversity and employee relations, and excludes companies deriving significant revenues from alcohol, tobacco, gambling, nuclear power and weapons contracting. In addition to the Domini Social Equity Fund, the company also offers the Domini Social Bond Fund (NASDQ: DSBFX) and an FDIC-insured money market account (in partnership with ShoreBank), both of which focus on community economic development.
The Domini Social Equity Fund and the Domini Social Bond Fund are subject to market risks and are not insured. You may lose money. Some of the Domini Social Bond Fund’s community investments may be unrated and carry greater credit risks than the Fund’s other investments. As of 12/31/01, Emerson and McDonald’s represented 0.44% and 0.62%, respectively, of the Domini Social Index Portfolio (DSIP). Unlike other mutual funds, the Domini Social Equity Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing all of its investable assets in the DSIP, a separate portfolio with an identical investment objective. The composition of the DSIP is subject to change. Please obtain a prospectus by calling 1-800-762-6814 or online at www.domini.com. Read it carefully before you invest or send money. DSIL Investment Services LLC (DSILD), Distributor. The Domini Social Equity Fund is not affiliated with any bank and is not insured. DSILD and ShoreBank are not affiliated. Domini Social Investments and the Pride Foundation are not affiliated.
Domini Social Investments, Domini Social Equity Fund, Domini Social Bond Fund and Domini Money Market Account are registered service marks of Domini Social Investments LLC. 02/02