Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10 Ways To Become a LGBT-Friendly Employer

The landscape of America is changing. It has become more diverse than ever. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other federal laws such as the ADA, ADEA, and Pregnancy Discrimination Act, ban discrimination against employees and applicants on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or age. Unfortunately  however, these laws do not explicitly address the issue of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Less than half of U.S. states have laws protecting LGBT employees and applicants from discrimination. The lack of federal or state legislation banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, however, does not prevent an employer from establishing its own workplace policies banning discrimination.

Many employers have seen the value of diversity in the workplace.  So, whether your company views embracing the LGBT community as a business decision or a moral decision, here are some steps you can take towards becoming a LGBT-Friendly employer.

Ways to Become a LGBT-Friendly Employer:

(1) Offer Employee Benefits to Domestic Partners, Civil Union Partners, Same-Sex Spouses, and the Dependents/Children of These Partners 

(2) Adoption Assistance Programs

(3) Show Your Support of the LGBT Community Through Partnerships with Local and National Organizations

(4) Compensate Employees for Taxes Paid on Domestic Partners' Health Benefits

(5) Show Diversity in Your Advertisement

(6) Provide Reasonable Accommodations Regarding Restrooms 

(7) Sponsor Gay Pride Parades

(8) Offer Health Care Plans That Cover Medically Necessary Treatments and Transgender-Related Procedures

(9) Establish a Workplace Non-Discrimination Policy

(10) Establish Employee Resource/Assistance Groups

There are great resources for up-to-date news on LGBT-Friendly companies, as well as other resources on creating a LGBT-Friendly workplace. Contact an attorney in your state for detailed information on any non-discrimination laws in your state protecting members of the LGBT community.

Erica N. Cordova is the Managing Attorney of HR Esquire - The Cordova Law Firm LLC. At HR Esquire, we believe in passing the savings along to our clients through our part-time law firm model. We strive to help small businesses develop a solid foundation and legal strategy so they can be successful. We will work to improve legal compliance and employee relations. Our goal is to improve your business' performance and provide legal advice for a successful human resources strategy via our Offsite General Counsel. Find out how we can help you and your business today! If you have questions about this article, please email contact@hresquirelaw.com. 

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