Work environments that are inclusive for all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be standard. Unfortunately, sexual orientation discrimination is a real problem that many people face and causes stress, job dissatisfaction, and even mental health issues.
It’s an employer’s responsibility to prevent and address sexual orientation bias in the workplace. Let’s take a look at a few tips and strategies to help you create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace for all employees.
Before anything else, establish a clear anti-discrimination policy. Communicate this policy to all employees, and enforce it consistently when instances of sexual orientation discrimination arise. Employees need to know that any acts of discrimination will not be tolerated and that there are consequences for such behavior.
If one employee can get away with bad behavior, it will set a precedent. Your policies should encompass all forms of discrimination, including but not limited to sexual orientation.
Start by setting a tone of inclusivity through training sessions. Provide resources on sexual orientation and gender identity bias, the appropriate language to use for various sexual orientations, and the importance of inclusivity.
Not everyone is aware of the appropriate language to use or what mindsets or verbiage is outdated. It is essential to educate your employees on different gender expressions, sexual orientations, and identities so that they can empathize with their fellow workers and make them aware of their biases. By educating employees, you can get everyone on the same page about how you expect them to treat each other.
An inclusive environment is one where all employees feel comfortable expressing themselves, asking questions, and seeking help. Employers can create such an environment by fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, encouraging the use of preferred pronouns, and displaying inclusion banners.
Relaxing your dress code can allow employees to express themselves freely, leading to a more open and accepting work environment. You can also form an inclusion council full of diverse employees who make it their duty to promote an inclusive workspace and ensure the company's practices follow those values.
Supporting your LGBTQIA+ staff means doing more than showing support on social media. Actively advocating for their rights in the workplace can be incredibly effective in preventing sexual orientation bias.
Attend pride events or create your own to publicly show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Use your platform to influence change within your industry or local government to protect the rights of your team members. Not only will this create a culture of inclusivity in the workplace, but it will also prevent employees from engaging in sexual orientation bias and discrimination.
Creating a more inclusive workplace requires continuous effort and dedication. Remember that small actions can make a big difference in creating a more inclusive and welcoming workspace for all employees.
If you’re struggling with instances of sexual orientation bias and discrimination in your workplace, contact the Law Firm of Tamara N. Holder today. Tamara Holder is a gay discrimination lawyer with years of experience fighting for justice when LGBTQIA+ people have been wrongly treated. She’ll do everything she can to root out discrimination and give her clients the closure and compensation they deserve.