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Sexual minorities in the workplace

opinion

Industrial-organizational I-O psychology is the scientific study of the workplace. Rigor and methods of psychology are applied to issues of critical relevance to business, including talent management, coaching, assessment, selection, training, organizational development, performance, and work-life balance. Law and Elicia A. King and Cortina in press suggest although organizations have an economic interest in providing Sexual minorities in the workplace for LGB employees, they also have a social responsibility to protect all of their employees, including sexual minorities.

One of their arguments is that LGB employees do not have legal protection in most locations across the United States.

The purpose of this paper, then, is to highlight some of the efforts being made at the organizational and legislative level that work to protect LGB individuals in the workplace. We then summarize the patchwork protection that various Sexual minorities in the workplace provide LGB employees and end with a discussion on the organizational efforts that some of the most successful companies in the United States make to protect LGB employees.

We also present a brief summary of the significant efforts being made to provide protection for sexual minorities in the workplace, as well as a summary of the laws that already exist that provide a small measure of protection. Much of the following information that we summarize below was obtained from the Human Rights Campaign HRC"Sexual minorities in the workplace" organization dedicated to the advancement of civil rights for sexual minorities.

Sexual Minorities in the Workplace:...

InPresident Clinton issued Executive Orderwhich prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation for most of the civilian workforce in the federal government. However, to date there exists no overarching federal protection for LGB employees in the workplace.

Nonetheless, there are multiple efforts being made to provide LGB employees commensurate workplace rights. All of the following acts Sexual minorities in the workplace been introduced to Congress but have not yet passed. Additional legislature has made it illegal to discriminate based on age, disability, and pregnancy status.

Organizations are prohibited from making employment decisions such as personnel selection, compensation, classification, and promotions based on those protected criteria. Currently, sexual orientation and sexual identity are not protected by federal legislation. The Employment Nondiscrimination Act ENDA would provide protection for all American sexual minority gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] individuals in the workplace, similar to the protections provided based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability.

Organizations with fewer than 15 employees, religious organizations, and the military would all be exempt from the act. In addition, ENDA does Sexual minorities in the workplace provide for a disparate impact claim, and it does not allow for the imposition of affirmative action for those organizations that violate the act.

The Employment Nondiscrimination Act was first introduced to Congress inalthough the first hearings on the act were not held until Inlawmakers introduced a new version of the law, which included gender identity.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB)...

Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act The Family and Medical Leave Act of allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave to take care of family members with medical needs. Employees who are eligible worked for a covered employer in the United States for at least 12 months and at least 1, hours can take those 12 weeks for events such as the birth of a child or the placement of a child into adoption or foster care, and the care of a spouse, child, or parent who has serious health conditions.

Furthermore, the employee does not have to take the 12 weeks all at one time. The act also allows employees to take the 12 weeks at one time, or intermittently. Currently, the Family and Medical Leave Act of does not Sexual minorities in the workplace the same benefit to sexual minorities.

A significant number of heterosexual...

This means that some employees are unable to be with their partners during times of medical need. The Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act would allow employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work if a domestic partner or same-sex spouse has a serious health condition.

Sexual minorities in the workplace act would also allow employees the same time off to care for a parent-in-law, adult child, a sibling, or a grandparent. Sexual minorities in the workplace act includes domestic partners and same-sex partners. The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act Many organizations include benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings to family members of different-sex partners. Because LGB individuals are unable to legalize their relationship in most areas of the country i.

In essence, this means that LGB individuals are not equally compensated for their workplace contributions. This inequality could be problematic for the federal government because many civilian organizations do extend those benefits to same-sex partners.

Qualified federal employees might opt to work in the private sector simply because these organizations may provide benefits for same-sex partners. This is the only law that requires punishment e.

Although we have previously outlined the lack of federal protection and the push for a modicum of protection for sexual minorities, we have not indicated that any Sexual minorities in the workplace exist that require an employer to discriminate against LGB employees.

This act, if passed, would repeal the DADT law. Essentially, this bill would replace the DADT law and would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the armed forces.

The act would keep current regulations regarding the personal conduct of military members but would ensure that those policies were enforced in a sexual-orientation neutral manner. In addition, service members who had been previously discharged under the DADT policy would be allowed to rejoin the military. This act would not provide benefits for same-sex partners or spouses because other current federal law Defense of Marriage Act currently prohibits such benefits HRC, e. Although there currently is no federal protection for sexual minorities in the workplace, there exists a patchwork of state-level protection for LGBT individuals in the workplace.

An exhaustive discussion of laws for each state would be well beyond the scope of this discussion, but we feel it is important to summarize the legal status for sexual minorities at the state level. A number of states and localities have passed laws and regulations that protect LGBT individuals. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees face the possibility of workplace discrimination in 29 states due to their sexual orientation, and it is legal in 38 states to discriminate based on gender identity.

There are also a number of states with pending legislation that may protect sexual minorities in the workplace. Although the legislation will not pass in some of these states e. Although the federal government has not yet passed legislation protecting sexual minorities in the workplace, many successful organizations have recognized the importance of protecting all employees.

Since there has been a significant increase in the number Sexual minorities in the workplace organizations that provide protection to sexual minorities.

Inonly three of the Fortune businesses provided protection to employees based on gender identity.

In Sexual minorities in the workplace, 61 of the Fortune businesses now include protection based on gender identity.

Furthermore, 94 of the Fortune businesses include protection for sexual orientation HRC, Successful organizations are also beginning to see the importance of providing same-sex benefits to employees. Although current federal legislation does not cover sexual orientation or sexual identity as a protected class, there are efforts being made to remedy that situation. While those efforts make their way through Congress and the courts, a number of states have begun to provide protection for sexual minorities.

Notably, the most successful organizations e. Although less visible, those organizations are also beginning to recognize the Sexual minorities in the workplace of providing the same protection and benefits to transgender employees. As mentioned, the decision of these organizations to extend same-sex benefits to their employees may be a significant factor in the decision for LGB employees to disclose their orientation, which in turn could improve employee workplace attitudes.

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