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ARTICLE
Posted: 12/8/16

LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace: An Overview


If you are either an employee or employer, you should know what LGBTQ discrimination looks like, what the consequences are, and how to stop it. Here is a brief overview on LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace.

What Does Discrimination Entail?

There are a wide variety of actions that could be considered discrimination. Refusal to hire a person due to their sexual or gender orientation is one of the more common issues faced by LGBTQ jobseekers.

Discrimination within the workplace after hiring can take the form of crude jokes, harassment, wrongful termination, harsh treatment, missing out on a promotion, and other unfair treatment. This can come from peers, managers, CEOs, or any other person working for the company.

How Does Discrimination Affect LGBTQ People?

When LGBTQ people are not accepted and are mistreated in their place of work, there can be very serious consequences. Not only are they more likely to quit the job and hurt the company, but the treatment is likely to cause them mental health problems.

Constant discrimination builds stress, causes depression, and can even cause anxiety disorders. They will begin to feel unsafe in their own workplace and dread the thought of coming in. Their work will suffer as the harsh treatment continues and may simply quit trying when they recognize that they will never be promoted.

Furthermore, people who experience social isolation are more likely to become addicted to a substance. LGBTQ people have some of the highest rates of addiction due to constant negative interactions with those around them. The substance abuse is a way to escape and forget the society that does not accept them.

However, if the workplace proves to be a safe space where co-workers and employees are accepting, the mental health of LGBTQ employees can rise. There is a lot of power in how the workplace is run.

What Can You Do to Make the Workplace Safer?
If you feel that your company could be doing more to make the workplace more LGBTQ-friendly, there are a few easy ways to remedy the problem. The best way to start is with sensitivity training. If the employees at a company have never been educated on LGBTQ discrimination, you can’t expect them to behave in a sensitive manner. You should also take steps to halt any discrimination the moment it is reported.
Make it known that discrimination against LGBTQ employees will not be tolerated. If possible, writing a company policy on the matter is usually a good way to get the point across. Of course, to make it known to prospective employees, it never hurts to hang a rainbow flag outside the establishment.

Incorporating LGBTQ people into our society is not an easy task. With so much misinformation and discrimination, these people are still fighting for equal rights. While you may not be able to change the world by making your company more inclusive, you can make a few people’s lives better and help advance the movement for equal rights. Though the going may be tough, remember that you are making a difference.

Image via Pixabay by Hillyne

Caroline Hampton
openeducators.org | carolinehampton@openeducators.org
500 Westover Dr. #9372 | Sanford, NC | 27330

 



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