LGBT Rights in the Workplace

In today’s society, there needs to be equal rights for everyone regardless of color, sex, or orientation within the place of employment. When I look for a place to work, I not only have to look for benefits, pay, but if they support the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender community. As a member of the LGBT community, I need to ensure that I will not be discriminated based on my personal right to love who I want to love. In my current employment, my managers and my fellow coworkers have supported me since I started working here. The upper management within the corporation have supported our Employment Resource Group, designed to educate and make aware, and have encouraged us to participate and to volunteer within the group. However, there are several companies that would not treat me the same and would never hire me based on my sexual orientation. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, states “it prohibits employers from hiring, firing, or otherwise discriminating in terms and conditions of employment, and it prohibits segregating employees in a manner that would affect their employment opportunities on the basis of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Whether or not you are out at your place of employment, you are still entitled to the same rights and benefits as anyone else. You should be free from harassment, taunting, and joking by other employees.

When members of the LGBT community start a new position at a corporation, people tend to hide who they are and do not bring their entire life with them. They do not put pictures of their family for fear of harassment, they may not talk about their spouse for fear of taunting, or they may not feel comfortable around certain people because they tell inappropriate jokes about LGBT. To improve the working conditions at work for LGBT from harassment, it needs to start at the human resource departments to ensure that the employee handbook is updated to include sexual harassment as a violation and will not be tolerated. The handbook should also include rights for the partners of LGBT and seen as a spouse or a partner when it comes to company benefits, bereavement, and paternity/maternity leave of absence. As well as address the bathroom issue that everyone has seen recently with the company Target for those who are transitioning to the opposite sex.

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The Supreme Court agreed on Monday April 22, 2019 to consider if a federal employment discrimination law that bans discrimination based on sex will also encompass the discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification. According to the U.S. solicitor general, the lower courts have misconstrued the Supreme Court’s sweeping declaration that “in forbidding employers to discriminate against individuals because of their sex, Congress intended to strike at the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and women resulting from sex stereotypes.” (Minter, 2019). With that line of thinking, employers could again deny promotion to women like Hopkins who are “unfeminine” or “macho” because that wouldn’t disgrace all female employees. In addition, Congress intended to prohibit only discrimination based on “biological sex” — a restriction that would exclude many gender stereotyping claims. If accepted by the Supreme Court, these arguments would do far more than exclude LGBTQ employees from workplace protections. They would produce a radical change in the law, eliminating many of Title VII’s most vital protections. This would severely wear away the foundation for individual claims of sexual harassment, hostile environment and gender stereotyping.

“Congress should work quickly to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, to ensure that all Americans are judged in the workplace based on their skills, qualifications, and the quality of their work. Right now, too many of our country’s gay and transgender workers are being judged on their sexual orientation and gender identity— factors that have no impact on how well a person performs their job” (Burns & Krehely, 2011). The Employment Non – Discrimination Act is a legislation proposed in congress that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment based on the sexual orientation or the identification of gender by employers who have at least 15 employees employed by the company. While employees are trying to find protection of themselves, some people are not as lucky. This law would allow employers not to discriminate against the individual who is applying for the job. According to Forbes, there are 5 career tips for LGBT employees.

  1. Find jobs that welcomes you as you are
  2. Find a community of like-minded individuals at work once hired on
  3. Communicate and educate your coworkers as to know that we are just like anyone else. We are here to do a job and succeed at it.
  4. Know your rights. Know what the company handbook says about LGBT and ensure that your manager and or co – worker is following the handbook.
  5. Lean on individuals in your community. Your close circle of friends is who you are going to confide in if something happens at work is unethical and hurtful. They will be able to provide you with the support and comfort that you are needed.

While not everyone feels the same as I do, people should have the same respect and fair treatment as anyone else. Find that job or career that will accept you for who you are and strive to be the best while employed there.

References

  1. Burns, C., & Krehely, J. (2011, June 2). Gay and Transgender People Face High Rates of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment. Retrieved from Center for American Progress: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2011/06/02/9872/gay-and-transgender-people-face-high-rates-of-workplace-discrimination-and-harassment/
  2. Kubasek, N., Browne, M., Herron, D., Dhooge, L., & Barkacs, L. (2019). Dynamic Business Law – The Essentials. New York: McGraw – Hill Education.
  3. Minter, S. (2019, May 2). Op – Ed: Three LGBTQ job discrimination cases could have wider consequences for everyone. Retrieved from Los Angeles Times: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-minter-supreme-court-cases-lgbt-gay-job-discrimination-20190502-story.html

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LGBT Rights in the Workplace. (2022, Jan 05). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/lgbt-rights-in-the-workplace/