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sexual orientation in the workplace

Sexual Orientation MGMT 577 01 Professor Finch in the Workplace Sexual Orientation in the Workplace “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ” Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence The philosophies of equality and unalienable rights upon which America was built seem to be tried time and time again.

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Discrimination against those different from ourselves continues to plague us. Having already tackled the issues of religion, race, nd sex, today we see hardworking, qualified Americans denied opportunities, harassed, fired, or otherwise discriminated against in the workplace based on sexual orientation – a person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted. ” Especially discriminated against are those individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).

There are no federal laws that protect these individuals from being discriminated against in the workplace and other environments. Fortunately, twenty- one states as well as the District of Columbia have aken the initiative to pass laws that ensure equality for their residents. In addition, hundreds of companies have implemented policies that protect their LGBT employees and encourage tolerance and equality. The American Workforce As of June 2012, the total working age population consisted of approximate 243 million individuals.

Of these individuals, approximately 1 55,163,000 individuals are considered to be in the labor force and 142,41 5,000 are currently employed. By 2020, the labor force is projected to reach more than 164 million people. According to the Williams Institute, it is estimated that there are approximately 9 million LGBT adults residing in the United States who participate in the work force; this is approximately 6. 3% of the workforce today. This data is likely incomplete as the federal government does not collect information on sexual orientation and gender identity. reaeral Laws While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibit discrimination against race, color, sex, religion, national origin, and age but there are no specific federal laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has held that discrimination against a transgender person is sex discrimination and is therefore covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, most courts have found protection for transgender people under a theory of gender stereotyping.

This is because Title VII has a specific provision against gender stereotyping under the umbrella of sex discrimination. The courts have supported EEOC’s interpretation of Title VII as the following cases clearly demonstrate. Schroer v. Billington The Library of Congress rescinded an offer of employment it had extended to a transgender Job applicant after the applicant informed the Librarys hiring officials that she intended to undergo a gender transition. The U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia entered Judgment in favor of the plaintiff on her Title VII sex discrimination claim.

Since the plaintiff was able to prove that the library was offering him the Job when they thought she was a man but was not willing to hire him once they found out that he was transitioning into a woman, then the court ruled that it is sex discrimination Smith v. City of Salem A biologically male, Smith was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) began to present at work as a female. Smith’s employer later subjected her to numerous psychological evaluations, and ultimately suspended her.

Smith filed suit under Title VII alleging that her employer had discriminated against her because of sex, “both because of her gender non-conforming conduct and, more generally, because of her identification as a transsexual. The district court ruled against her but the decision was reversed by the US court of appeals in favor of the plaintiff (Smith) Under this heory the court ruled against the employer because the employer had fired Miss Smith based on its own stereotypical expectation of how a man was supposed to dress. Glenn v.

Brumby Vandiver Elizabeth Glenn, a transgender woman was fired by her employer because her employer considered it “inappropriate” for her to appear at work dressed as a woman and that he found it “unsettling” and “unnatural”. The Court concluded that discrimination against a transgender individual because of her gender-nonconformity is sex discrimination, and therefore granted summary judgment to her. Under this theory the court ruled against the employer because the employer had fired the plaintiff, Elizabeth Glenn based on its own stereotypical expectation of how a man was supposed to dress.

ODama Aamlnlstratlon Under the Obama Administration, there have been several actions taken to promote equality for the LGBT community, below is a timeline showing the progress of the last few years. Barack Obama has taken a definitive pro-LGBT rights stance. Obama opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, Proposition 8, and supported civil unions while running for president in 2008. When Obama became president his administration, in a reversal of Bush administration policy, signed the U. N. declaration that calls for the decriminalization of homosexuality. He also called for full equality during his second inaugural address on January 21, 2013: “Our Journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law ??” for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. ” It was the first mention of rights for gays and lesbians or use of the word gay in an inaugural address. This truly shows the significance of how these laws would affect Americans all over the country.

State Laws At least half of the states in the Union have enacted laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in all forms of employment. These states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. New Jersey passed law against discrimination (LAD) and pretty much covers any time of discrimination maginable. Because the state laws specifically mentions sexual orientation, there is far more protection for workers in those states.

In comparison, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual workers in states without such explicit laws have to rely on a generous interpretation of Title VII by federal courts for protection. Gay Rights by State Employer Initiatives However, several companies have taken it upon themselves to implement a policy that protects their lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees. One example comes from one of the largest companies in America; Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has acknowledged the cultural cnange In America ana suosequently Dannea Olscrlmlnatlon oasea on sexual orientation.

More recently, they have taken it one step further by extending comprehensive medical benefits coverage to domestic and legally married same-sex partners. The company’s decisions strongly signals that protecting gay, lesbian and bisexual employees in now standard business practice. Leading companies like Wal-Mart are trying to set a positive trend by acknowledging that there is sexual orientation harassment and discrimination in the orkplace. Consequently, some of the larger companies such as Exxon choose not to implement a policy.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is putting the resolution before shareholders, urges the oil and gas giant to follow the progressive lead of other Fortune 100 companies: By ExxonMobil not having a clear policy based on sexual orientation and gender identity, it really leaves the corporation to not getting access to the best talent that’s available. We’re looking at it very much from the point of view of shareholding and wanting our companies to do ery well, and we think that this lack of addressing this issue of discrimination is an impediment to ExxonMobil getting the best performance that will benefit our shares. The Human Rights Campaign The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. HRC represents over 1. 5 million Americans nationwide and works to ensure that LGBT issues receive the attention and respect they deserve. 5 Among some of its current initiatives it HRC supports is the Employment Non- Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA, modeled after existing civil rights laws, would provide basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. References Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Facts about Discrimination in Federal Government Employment Based on Marital Status, Political Affiliation, Status as a Parent, Sexual Orientation, or Transgender (Gender Identity) Status”. Retrieved September 28, 2013 from www. eeoc. gov Coleman, Aaron. Will ExxonMobil Include Sexual Orientation In Its Non-Discrimination Policy? http://www. queerty. om/will-exxonmobil-include-sexual-orientation-in-its- non-discrimination-policy-20120529/#iXZZ48Sd2YJ.

May 29, 2012 Pleming, Sue (March 18, 2009). “In turnaround, U. S. signs U. N. gay rights document”. Reuters. Retrieved November 9, 2012. Robillard, Kevin Oanuary 21, 2013). “First inaugural use of the word ‘gay'”. Politico. Retrieved January 21, 2013. “About Us. ” Human Rights Campaign. N. p. , n. d. Web. 09 Oct. 2013. “Employment Non-Discrimination Act. ” Human Rights Campaign. N. p. , n. d. W D UYO t 2013 “Ine stateoT Dlversl ty n oaays web. 09 oct. 2013. worKTorce. ” Name.

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