Last Friday’s historic Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges guarantees same-sex couples in all 50 states the freedom to marry and the right to have their marriages recognized in each state. While this landmark decision guarantees same-sex couples important legal rights, acceptance of individuals who identify as LGBT will still take time. In fact, there is no federal law protecting LGBT workers against discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Although many states and municipalities have passed anti-discrimination laws, 32 states have not or offer limited protections, meaning that in the majority of states, workers can be fired simply for identifying as LGBT.
Speakers at the MCCA Creating Pathways to Diversity® Conference held in Washington, D.C. discussed ways to foster acceptance and enhance LGBT rights in the workplace. Below find tips to ensure that your firm or company is a welcoming place for all employees:
- Ensure that anti-discrimination policies are included in company’s official policies and employee handbook
- Provide Safe Space and Ally cards as a visible sign of inclusion
- Encourage employees to be out, if they feel comfortable
- Publicly support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
- Create LGBT affinity groups
- Educate the HR department about how new laws impact benefits for married same-sex couples
- Treat same-sex married couples the same as straight married couples
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