Workplace discrimination affects thousands of people in the United States each year, and those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) are significantly more at risk for discrimination than many other demographics. Changes to workplace policies over the last few years, as well as the increased awareness of the issues the LGBTQ community faces, have enabled LGBTQ people to make positive changes to their working environments. While there is still LGBTQ discrimination in workplaces across the country, there are laws that protect LGBTQ workers from discrimination and harassment at their workplace.
LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Policies
Due to the 2013 and 2015 U.S. Supreme Court rulings, employees who are engaged in retirement plans are eligible to receive survivor death benefits in a same-sex civil union or marriage. Same-sex partners are also eligible for extended health care benefits through their spouse’s employer. Domestic partner benefits may be rescinded in order to implement spousal benefits, meaning some employees may need to adjust their marital status for health care accordingly.
Many companies have also implemented new non-discrimination policies to benefit LGBTQ employees, though these protections are not yet legally mandated. Discrimination based on gender, sex, and sexual orientation are all determined by a 2015 EEOC ruling to be equivalent, and alleged in several cases that discrimination towards gay or transgender employees was a form of sexual discrimination.
Some new anti-discrimination policies are designed less towards enforcement of company policy and more toward outreach and awareness. Increasingly, employers are providing diversity courses for gender identity and expression, and some have created guidelines for workplace interactions with a transgender or transitioning individual. These guidelines typically cover dress code adaptations, restroom access, promotion or termination considerations, and abusive or harassing interactions.
Diversity and Outreach for LGBTQ Employees
Several advances in benefits and outreach have been made in favor of LGBTQ persons. Companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Kroger, and Nike have implemented health care benefits specifically for transitioning individuals, which cover a variety of medical procedures and associated costs. Other benefits for LGBTQ members include assistance with adoption and/or surrogacy, and parental leave regardless of gender identification.
Outreach initiatives include a new Corporate Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign that rates workplace inclusion of LGBTQ members. Also, several major corporations have targeted practices they view as discriminatory, such as Disney’s warning to Georgia state that filming projects will be moved elsewhere if faith organizations were allowed to deny LGBTQ people access.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Assist LGBTQ Clients
If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transsexual/transgender, you may have experienced some amount of discrimination in the past. Our South Jersey employment lawyers can represent you if you are the victim of LGBTQ discrimination in South Jersey. Call Sidney L. Gold Associates P.C. at 215-569-1999 for a free consultation, or contact us online. We seek to ensure each of our clients receives full compensation for any harassment or discrimination they have experienced.