New York City Retirement Systems has filed a shareholder proposal with EchoStar Communicatons Corp., Englewood, Colo., asking the company to "explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation."
The proposal is sponsored by New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., who oversees the systems. It states, "... the company has an interest in preventing discrimination and resolving complaints internally so as to avoid costly litigation and damage (to) its reputation as an equal opportunity employer."
The EchoStar board opposes the proposal. "The board believes our current policies and practices achieve the objectives of this proposal and that this proposal is unnecessary and undesirable," according to a statement from the firm. "... We have an all-inclusive policy so there can be no doubt that any form of such discrimination is prohibited. Our stated policy is that we do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, or any other status protected by federal, state or local law. If we go beyond legal requirements, it would be impossible to enumerate additional categories that fully express our inclusiveness."
The systems comprise the $34.4 billion Employees' Retirement System, the $28.5 billion Teachers' Retirement System, the $16.6 billion Police Pension Fund, the $5.6 billion Fire Department Pension Fund, and the $1.8 billion Board of Education Retirement System. The funds own a total of 722,883 shares of EchoStar class A shares. EchoStar's annual shareholder meeting is Oct. 6.