Customer: Hey, it seems like this month I saw every corporate logo turned into a rainbow flag. What’s with that?
Ann (clutches her rainbow Starbucks mug): Well, you know June is Pride Month.
Customer (a little hesitant): Yeah, and? I don’t know what kind of difference a rainbow flag is gonna make. I hire the best person for the job, ya know?
Ann (takes a swig from her rainbow mug): That’s great, but there’s usually more to it than that…
LGBTQ+ Employees Still Face Discrimination
Living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ+) person is still criminalized in more than 70 countries worldwide. In the United States, we are one of the most comparatively tolerant countries.
However, tolerance should not be mistaken for equality, and still today members of the LGBTQ+ community experience obstacles, judgment, and even abuse for their identities. In fact, it wasn’t until 2020 that transgender and gay employees were included in the Civil Rights Act as protected groups explicitly protected from harassment or bias in employment decisions.
Pride Month is about celebrating the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community, past, and present. As well as sending the message that we need to continue the fight for true equality.
In 2018, the Human Rights Campaign reported that nearly 50% of LGBTQ+ workers remain in the closet at their place of employment. The report revealed that workers were told to dress more masculinely or feminine or heard coworkers and managers tell offensive or hurtful jokes about being gay or transgender.
Because of this, people are afraid to come out in the workplace. They don’t feel they would be supported, they may be passed up for promotion opportunities, and it could ruin relationships with their co-workers.
These fears lead to feelings of depression, isolation, exhaustion or the inability to focus on their jobs. While there is legislation to protect LGTBQ+ employees, employers can create a more inclusive workplace through leadership and recruitment.
Best practices and examples of how to support LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace:
Every year, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) publishes the Corporate Equality Index of businesses that have instituted “corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees.”
The rating includes criteria based on:
- Non-discrimination policies across business entities
- Equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families/partners
- Supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility
LGBTQ+ Friendly Application & Screening Pro-Tips
An employer’s on-boarding process will also reveal if they are truly inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community.
Realistically, there’s no need to ask for an applicant’s gender identity. Instead, it is much more important to leave a space where your applicant can list what pronouns she, he, or they use.
When running a background check, it’s important to gather as much information as possible to verify that the screening report is accurate. If the candidate has transitioned, for example, it is necessary to obtain all identifying information (i.e., former names) to get a comprehensive report.
The candidate should also be able to signify how they currently identify. Never use a candidate’s former names, those are for investigative purposes only.
As a Women Owned Business, Cutting Edge strives to be an inclusive workplace that encourages our staff to be themselves. We have a diverse workforce, and an appreciation of the unique experiences from our LGBTQ+ team members.