Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » The State of the Workplace for ...
The State of the Workplace for LGBT Americans

The State of the Workplace for LGBT Americans

Corporations Are Driving Change Where the Government Is Not

By Robert DiGiacomo, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Workplace laws protecting LGBT workers continue to evolve, but one constant remains: Federal law does not protect workers from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and a bill to enact such protections (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA) remains stalled in Congress.

Legal Challenges

Currently, in 29 states, a person may still lose his job for being gay. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not covered by the federal laws that generally prohibit private-employer discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability. And it is still permissible in 38 states for transgender workers to be fired because of their gender identity. (The law in these areas is constantly changing; numerous legislative efforts at national and local levels are in progress at this writing.)

The Defense of Marriage Act further limits the federal government's ability to extend certain benefits to LGBT workers.

Although 21 states and dozens of municipalities have added LGBT-inclusive workplace-protection laws to their books, it has been the corporate sector that has helped drive many positive changes for LGBT employees over the past few decades.

Good Corporate Citizens

In 2002, when the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued its first report card on corporate policies pertaining to LGBT workers, slightly more than a dozen major companies got a perfect score, according to Eric Bloem, deputy director of the HRC's Workplace Project.

In 2010, more than 300 corporations reached the highest level, meaning they have a nondiscrimination policy inclusive of LGBT workers, offer domestic-partner benefits and meet other criteria.

"More and more companies are understanding this is the right thing to do to have a successful business, with regards to recruitment and retention, and keeping the talent they need," Bloem says.

Among the industries that have stepped up their LGBT diversity efforts are automotive, aviation, manufacturing and law firms. (Many unions also include antidiscrimination provisions, which may include sexual orientation, in their contracts). Some engineering and construction firms remain difficult environments for LGBT workers, as do the advertising and clothing industries, according to Bloem.

Diversity as Recruiting Tactic

At the global consulting firm KPMG, LGBT-friendly policies are part of an inclusive culture that supports national diversity networks for women and minority groups.

The firm sees this LGBT support as a key recruiting and retention tool and a way to help attract business from similarly minded clients.

Such an approach "should be and needs to be incorporated into day-to-day business because our clients expect it," says Tim Stiles, co-chair of the 450-member Pride@KPMG group and a partner in the firm. "It's about inclusion and not about diversity."

American Airlines, which launched the LGBT employee group GLEAM in 1994 and has been a leader among its peers with its LGBT policies, takes a similar view that a diverse workplace is good for business, according to Denise Lynn, vice president of onboard services, who most recently was responsible for diversity and leadership strategies.

The airline considers its commitment to its LGBT workers as part of a continuum that has included hiring the first black flight attendant in 1963, naming the first female pilot a decade later and introducing multicultural marketing teams in the 1990s.

"Respecting and providing equal treatment for our LGBT workforce is actually part of our DNA," Lynn says.

Setting LGBT Goals at Your Job

Changing corporate culture around major issues like LGBT rights usually doesn't happen overnight. If you'd like to see changes in this area at your employer, here are some first steps:

  • Determine the potential consequences of coming out on the job and taking steps to bring together other LGBT or LGBT-friendly colleagues. Bloem advises asking yourself, "Is there a nondiscrimination policy in the workplace? Do you have any coverage under the law?"   
  • Set goals, whether you're looking to add domestic-partner benefits, develop new policies, network and/or help with recruiting, Stiles says.
  • Get key executives to sign on to your effort. "You have to have senior leaders who are champions," Stiles says.
  • Review policies, training manuals and workplace practices to ensure that they are "inclusive and sensitive" to the needs of customers and employees, Lynn advises.
  • Once policies are in place, use surveys or other research to determine whether they are having their intended effect on the entire company.

"It's easy to have a nondiscrimination policy implemented at the corporate headquarters," Bloem says. "The question remains whether it filters down into field offices or manufacturing plants, and [it's important] to understand what's going on in those locations."

If you feel you have suffered sexual-orientation discrimination, you may want to consult with an attorney, governmental agency or personnel office to learn more about any protections that may apply to you.

Latest Jobs

Stoelzle Oberglas
Posted: 05/27/2015
New York City, NY, 10001
Posted: 05/27/2015
Irvine, CA, 92618
Posted: 05/27/2015
Carlsbad, CA, 92013
Posted: 05/27/2015
Mountain View, CA, 94035
Parker and Lynch
Posted: 05/27/2015
New York, NY, 10017

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-313