Stay informed and ready to meet both everyday challenges and long-term planning and policy-making goals, with focused news, practical information, and strategic insights on all HR-related developments.
By Caryn Freeman
Nov. 4 — Employers must carefully navigate and update LGBT workplace policies and procedures, including allowing for LGBT employees to “self-identify,” practitioners told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 3.
LGBT self-identification is when an employee discloses his or her gender identity or sexual orientation to the employer.
Selisse Berry, founder and CEO of Out & Equal, an advocacy organization that partners with companies to ensure they have LGBT-inclusive workplace policies, said self-identification enables companies to measure the success of their diversity efforts and track LGBT employees for professional development opportunities.
Christopher Wilkinson, a partner at management-side law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's Washington office, also said having a process for LGBT employees to self-identify is important.
There are a couple of “hot-button legal issues” facing employers, he said. “The first issue, really, is on the sexual orientation front and if courts are going to accept the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recent interpretation of Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] to protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation,” he said.
Because states can no longer restrict same sex marriage, another looming question for employers is whether they should “dial back” domestic partner benefits, said Wilkinson, who previously served as a senior civil rights and labor management lawyer for the Labor Department.
Employers should first review the “patchwork of state laws out there that protect, or do not protect, [employees] on the basis of sexual orientation” before rescinding domestic partner benefits in favor of spousal benefits, he said.
Berry said employers should include sexual orientation and gender identity in their internal non-discrimination policies, should support LGBT employee resources groups and should offer LGBT-specific diversity training.
Once companies roll out these policies domestically, they should implement them globally as well, she said. “Making that statement and rolling those policies out globally helps LGBT employees in countries around the world bring their own selves to work,” Berry said.
Wilkinson urged employers to review workplace policies specific to LGBT employees. “Employers really need to be looking at their bathroom usage policies, they need to be looking at their policies related to using pronouns in the workplace [and] they need to be looking at policies related to name changes in the workplace,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Caryn Freeman in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)