Making Workplaces More Colorful: 8 Ways to Support LGBT Workers

The 2018 midterm election was historic for individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). With significant victories on the state and local level, LGBT individuals are making inroads as shown by Colorado electing Jared Polis as the nation’s first openly gay governor and Kyrsten Sinema making history not only as Arizona’s first female senator, but the first-ever bisexual member of the US Senate.

Additionally, Massachusetts voters upheld a state law prohibiting discrimination based on transgender status in places of public accommodation via the first statewide referendum of its kind.

However, against this backdrop, the Trump administration has rolled back LGBT protections by arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not protect sexual orientation or gender identity, rescinding bias protections and aiming to protect religious liberty at the expense of LGBT rights.

This has been met with stern opposition by the business community. In fact, 56 major corporations have banded together in a Business Statement for Transgender Equality, opposing any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through the reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations.

In doing so, business leaders noted that diversity and inclusion positively impacts an employer’s bottom line and increases productivity. Many have put those words into practice as more than 80% of Fortune 500 corporations have clear gender identity protections, two-thirds have transgender healthcare coverage and hundreds more have LGBT employee resource groups and diversity training programs.

What this boils down to is that having workplace policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on gender identity and sexual orientation is not only best practice, but it is good business sense. Here are eight measures an employer can take to ensure a workplace that is diverse, tolerant and respectful of all individuals including those who identify as LGBT.