How Gay Will Work Be in 2012?
I would guess that in addition to the recent legislation in New York, the 1st six months of 2011 have been a good 1/2 year for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender American crowd. No matter your personal ideology, the list below should be considered a significant reflection of accomplishment. I mean, they’re getting shit done. The problem is that these accomplishments are a ridiculous waste of time. Instead of debating the appropriate R&D tax structure that would keep companies here, we’re debating same-sex marriage. Instead of focusing on business growth, we’re setting about to find out if someone is discriminating against someone else because they’ve added or subtracted body parts. Really? What’s’ next quotas on transgender hiring in 2012?
- On the federal level, the Office of Personnel Management added antidiscrimination protections for all federal employees which means the largest employer in the United States has antidiscrimination policies that includes protections for transgender federal employees.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development have changed their equal opportunity and antidiscrimination policies to include the phrase “sex (including pregnancy and gender identity).”
- The USDA has asked the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees all federal employee policies, to impose its gay-awareness programs on all federal departments.
- The Veterans Administration (VA) will soon implement a health care policy that will standardize treatment for transgender veterans across the entire VA health care system.
- In Hawaii, Nevada, and Connecticut the state legislature added employment antidiscrimination protections for gender identity.
- Portland, Oregon recently became the third local government in the United States to offer transgender health care benefits for its employees, to include genital reconstruction surgery.
As a business owner, if you’re good at your job and create value for our customers, I don’t care who you love. We hire adults. Can we not manage ourselves as such? Bureaucrats mandating policy that drives equity rarely works. Smart businesses already realize what will be reported in the July/August edition of the Harvard Business Review and manage accordingly. The findings:
- The LGBT community’s collective buying power at more than $700 billion in the U.S. alone. This is a constituency with economic firepower companies should not ignore.
- This is a highly desirable labor pool: ambitious (71%), committed (88% are willing to go the extra mile for employers) and better educated (48% of LGBT respondents have graduate degrees versus 40% of their straight counterparts).
- LGBT employees who are not out reported significantly greater feelings of being stalled in their careers and greater dissatisfaction with their rates of promotion and advancement.
- LGBT employees who are not out are 40 percent less likely to trust their employer than those who are out.
- Employees who remain closeted and isolated are 73 percent more likely to leave their companies within the next three years.
Having acknowledged the above, and some of the positives, I’ve also consulted with companies on transgender policy issues, including men to women and which bathroom they use at work, and it’s as though the individual has been allowed by the employer to take on a disabled worker status. It’s not a disability, but rather a choice and it should not require reasonable accommodation. I know disability, and this isn’t it. This is a tough issue, and therefore prescribed resolutions should not be mandated by out of touch policy makers, but rather pro-active leaders and HR professionals. If the 2nd half of 2011 is as aggressively pushed as the 1st by those driving this issue, it might be wise to be thinking about your situation sooner rather than later.