Sexual Orientation in the Workplace
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MGMT 577 01
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. Discrimination against those different from ourselves continues to plague us. Having already tackled the issues of religion, race, and 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 taken 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 155,163,000 individuals are considered to be in the labor force and 142,415,000 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. 1
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 Library’s 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...
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.com/will-exxonmobil-include-sexual-orientation-in-its-non-discrimination-policy-20120529/#ixzz2g8Sc32Yj. 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 (January 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. Web. 09 Oct. 2013.
"The State of Diversity in Today 's Workforce." Name. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2013.
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