Diversity in the workplace can help companies service a broader segment of the public and can help a company connect with more talented employees than it would hire if it limited its pool of prospective applicants based on protected characteristics like race or sex.
Sexual orientation is another protected characteristic that should not affect someone’s employment or their experience on the job. However, many people in the LGBT community report experiencing misconduct and mistreatment on the job. In fact, LGBT workers report experiencing two different kinds of sometimes overlapping mistreatment on the job.
They face employer discrimination
As many as 46% of LGBT workers indicate that they have faced mistreatment on the job or discrimination from employers. Some of these people have lost job opportunities, been denied promotions or even face termination because of who they are.
Even companies that advertise themselves as inclusive and that claim progressive social values can have a culture in the management or human resources department that is anything but inclusive. The people who make the major hiring and firing decisions might let their own personal biases affect their work performance. Companies that boast about being inclusive may not realize that their management team routinely dismisses qualified LGBT applicants because no one has complained thus far.
The systemic mistreatment of or discrimination toward LGBT workers denies advancement opportunities and employment and imposes an unfair burden on those who may already lack family support.
They are at increased risk of harassment
Coworkers are often a source of mistreatment and can easily create hostile work environments that negatively affect LGBT workers. Numerous LGBT employees report dealing with sexual harassment from their co-workers, and some even report physical aggression and altercations arising at work.
Harassment could range from sexually explicit commentary to religious remarks condemning someone’s marriage as sinful. When such harassment takes place in a work environment where the company discriminates as well, the employee facing harassment may not receive the support they deserve when responding to misconduct by their coworkers.
Taking action as an LGBT worker facing discrimination on the job or workplace harassment will protect you and other people who come to work for the company in the future.