4 Major LGBTQ Workplace Problems and Possible Solutions
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” -Winston Churchill
It’s the unfortunate reality that there are still obstacles in the workplace for LGBTQ employees. This is even after Obama’s 2014 executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees and candidates based on gender identity and sexual orientation. That was an important day for the LGBTQ community, although we must acknowledge the fight isn’t near being over. This article strives to be a voice for inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Read our 4 major obstacles here and solutions so that we can all try to make our office a welcoming place for all individuals.
1. Domestic or same-sex partners are still not covered by health insurance.
This is a really important issue and seems to be a constant uphill fight for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. Almost all employees that are covered by health insurance through their employer also have coverage for their opposite sex spouse. However, this isn’t the case for same-sex couples. There were two Supreme Court rulings in 2013 and 2015 that have opened the door to the possibility of access to health insurance for same sex couples. Employers should now review their plans thoroughly to make sure their health insurance covers domestic partners of the same sex. This is to ensure all the employees and their families have equal access to health care.
2. Leave policies aren’t equal across the board.
American fathers are nearly tripling the amount of time they take off work to care for their children. This number will go up even more as there are more adoption with LGBTQ fathers. The problem here is that many leave policies with companies do not factor in this increase. Meaning, same-sex partners can be left hanging when they need to take time off to care for their children. Samantha Novan, an HR manager at Simple Grad and Assignment Help, says that “if you’re a manager and you have a family or medical leave policy at your business, be sure to include same-sex partners, adopted children as well as foster children in the policy’s definition of applicable family members.”
3. Workplace discrimination and harassment.
There are many different forms of discrimination and harassment at work. It can be anything from verbal to physical to embedded in certain decisions such as work opportunities and promotions. In the United States, around 21 percent of LGBT employees have reported that they are discriminated against when it comes to hiring, promotions and salary, according to some studies that have been done. What can we do about this? Companies must establish strong and inclusive policies against harassment that prevents managers and other employees from discriminating against or harassing fellow coworkers. You should yourself as a manager set a good example for your employees. As per Gertrude Gangley, a journalist at Studydemic and Paper Fellows, “if you see any actions that are hurtful or hear anything inappropriate or hate speech, make sure you take it seriously. If someone reports an incident, be sure to investigate seriously. Speak with the employees in question in a one-on-one format and monitor future behavior.”
4. Failure of reporting acts of discrimination or harassment.
This one is linked to the previous problem, because even when businesses have set up strong anti- harassment policies, these incidents still happen. The worst part is that other employees don’t often feel comfortable speaking up and reporting an act. It means that they feel unwelcome in their workplace. What you can do is create an inclusive space at work and a culture of speaking up so that all employees feel comfortable and supported if they stand up for themselves or report an incident. If they feel comfortable speaking up, they’re more likely to stop an incident mid-progress or report something.
It takes more than a few gestures to make employees feel welcome in the workplace. It needs to become an ingrained culture at your company. There are certain inclusion activities you can start at work to kickstart this process. Participate in a local Pride event with your work and attend as a group, offer LGBTQ diversity training to all employees, and set up an inclusive health care benefit plan. By following these steps, you’ll be taking great strides towards equality and inclusivity.
Guest Writer Bio
Aimee Laurence, an HR manager at Law assignment writing service and Academized, writes about communication and management tactics. She enjoys sharing her perspective on human resources and best practices with her readers.