Workplace harassment comes in many forms, and as gender and sexual orientation continue to evolve, incidents connected with gender identity create groundbreaking legal decisions regarding sexual harassment.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes that a June 2020 case regarding transgender or a person’s sexual orientation confirms that no employer can terminate an individual’s employment based solely on these identifiers. Employers who want to avoid such legal entanglements may want to learn more about sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and how it affects work culture and their employees.
Areas of discrimination
Anti-discrimination laws protect transgender and same-sex relationships within the scope of any workplace. Employers cannot use sexual orientation or an employee’s sexual self-identification to discriminate in any areas, including:
- Wages/pay raises
- Work assignments
- Benefits packaging
Additionally, employers cannot make hiring or work termination decisions based on one’s gender identity.
Creating a positive work culture
While most workplaces contain a mix of people with different beliefs and personal viewpoints, employers can create a positive and non-toxic work culture by making everyone aware of laws that protect transgender people and those who claim a gay, lesbian or non-binary identity. Employers can let their workers know that any type of harassment, including slurs or comments about a person’s gender, can result in disciplinary action. Outlining these terms in an employee handbook that every worker must sign may help make all guidelines clear.
When harassment and intentional bullying occur, employers may want to take action as soon as possible before the situation can escalate. Counseling and human resource intervention may help resolve the issue.