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A manager engaged in sexual orientation discrimination against a woman

Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Understanding Gender Identity In The Workplace

The teenage years of a person are significantly important because it is the time when individuals develop their identity. For example, more than 5% of young adults in the US state their gender is different from that assigned at their birth.

In the older times, people of different gender identities and sexual orientations suffered greatly from discrimination. Unfortunately, such injustice still persists in the society.

This is especially true for different workplaces. So let’s look at all the information you need on gender identity in the workplace.

SOGI Meaning: Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

A definition post on the meaning of SOGI

It is important to understand the SOGI meaning before you can learn more about gender identity in the workplace. The term is a combination of two highly important aspects of life.

A person’s sexual orientation is their identity in terms of the gender they are attracted to. For example, homosexual individuals may have a sexual orientation of:

  • Gay
  • Queer
  • Asexual
  • Lesbian
  • Bisexual

Meanwhile, gender identity develops separately from sexual orientation. That is because it is how the person identifies as a whole. For example, an individual may have a gender identity of:

  • Man
  • Woman
  • Transgender
  • Non-Binary

This means that gender identity has no connection to who a person is romantically interested in. Some people born as male may express themselves as feminine. So they may change their gender identity to identify as a female in different ways such as sex reassignment surgery.

Common Types Of Gender Identity In The Workplace

An infographic on the common types of gender identity in the workplace

There can be different types of gender identity in the workplace, depending on the diversity of the company. These may include people identifying as:

  • Cisgender – a person who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth
  • Transgender – a person whose gender identity in the workplace doesn’t match the one assigned at birth
  • Non-Binary – an individual who doesn’t identify as a man or woman exclusively. This means they may express gender fluidity
  • Agender – a person who doesn’t identify as having a specific gender

EEO Sexual Orientation: What You Must Know

An infographic on the explanation of EEO sexual orientation

The EEO sexual orientation regulations make it unlawful for companies to discriminate against their workers due to their sexual orientation. Gender identity also comes under this rule.

This means workplaces must not create a hostile environment for workers with different sexual orientation or gender identity. EEO laws also require employers to implement policies to prevent discrimination within their workplace.

For example, intentional misuse of a transgender employee’s name and pronouns can lead to a hostile work environment. This will give the worker the right to file a case against their employer.

That is why employers need to create practices that will offer a supportive working environment to their employees.

Gender Identity Vs. Gender Discrimination: The Difference

Gender identity is how a person identifies. For example, you may represent yourself as a man in a workplace interview. You may also write your application as a transgender.

Meanwhile, gender discrimination refers to differential treatment based on gender. For instance, many senior managers engage in gender discrimination by giving important tasks to male team members over trans female workers.

This means gender discrimination causes people to suffer from injustices due to their identity. In many companies, transgender people suffer a lot and are often passed on for promotions due to gender discrimination.

Remember gender discrimination is illegal in the US. If any person is suffering from this injustice at their workplace, they can file a complaint with the EEOC.

Meanwhile, it is not illegal for a person to identify as a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth.

How To Create A Gender-Inclusive Workplace For Everyone 

An infographic on how to improve policies of gender identity in the workplace

Companies need to create a positive environment for gender identity in the workplace. Let’s look at the top things you can do to develop an inclusive environment at your company:

1.   Have Clear Policies And Practices

The top thing you must do to develop a positive atmosphere in your company is to develop policies surrounding gender identity in the workplace.

For instance, you must create a quota for HR to hire people of diverse genders. This can allow you to develop an inclusive environment at your company by ensuring no community is passed on during the hiring process.

Another gender identity in the workplace policy you may introduce in your company is of usage of proper pronouns. Many non-binary workers use the pronouns “them” or “their” regardless of their birth-assigned gender.

However, many people at companies ignore the gender identity of different workers. They may use “his” or “her” pronouns to refer to non-binary or agender employees.

That is why it is necessary to introduce a practice of referring to people using their gender identity pronouns. You may introduce a strict policy for this matter and may charge fines for workers who violate it.

The top benefit of having policies for gender identity in the workplace is that it can protect your company from violating federal laws.

That is because the inappropriate behavior of even a single employee can damage your workplace’s credibility. You may also perform a survey in your company about policy changes surrounding gender identity in the workplace.

This can allow you to introduce practices that your diverse workers would be satisfied with.

2.   Provide Training To Employees Regarding Gender Identity In The Workplace

Many companies suffer from sexual orientation and gender discrimination charges due to the behavior of specific employees. Staff with no training in dealing with workers and clients of diverse gender identities can violate laws easily.

You may develop a specific training program on gender identity in the workplace. Making participation of new workers mandatory can help you train employees about sexual orientation and gender identity.

For example, you may cover different terms and their meanings in the community. This can help people refer to team members with unique genders appropriately.

Hiring someone to teach the usage of pronouns in relation to gender identities such as non-binary during the training program will also be helpful. You may also cover things that may be perceived as derogatory remarks.

Offering training to employees can help them improve their behavior and realize their mistakes. For example, some people may use inappropriate pronouns for a non-binary colleague due to their lack of knowledge. They may not know how they should be calling that employee.

The best thing about a well-developed training program is that it can reduce the chances of accidental violation of EEO sexual orientation and gender identity laws.

A training program can also show your employees from diverse backgrounds that you’re actively working to offer them a positive working environment.

3.   Review Your Recruitment Processes

One of the many reasons companies suffer from lawsuits due to gender discrimination is because of their recruitment process. Many people in the Human Resource (HR) departments of companies may have outdated opinions.

This means that an HR officer may show bias when hiring new workers. They may separate people belonging to gender identities such as trans and agender from the final interview.

A recruiter may also offer employment to a lesser qualified cisgender over a highly qualified transgender after the final interview due to their biased views.

This is why it has become necessary for employers to supervise their recruitment processes carefully. A pattern of passing over qualified workers of diverse genders can make it easy for people to file a lawsuit against your company.

So implement specific policies for gender identity in the workplace that HR officers must follow. You may also hire a third-party supervisor to ensure no bias happens during the recruitment process.

Another thing you can do is sit in interviews yourself and ask for reports after the final interview applicant. You can review the reports in your office to see which person is deserving of the job.

Comparing your decision with HR’s choice of applicant can help you find out about bias in your workplace. You may also choose supervisors who are sensitive to gender identity in the workplace.

Such workers can make better hiring decisions because they will not let their biases get in the way.

4.   Create A Supportive Environment For Employees

A company can only get ahead in the industry if it has a high employment and customer satisfaction rate. It is easy to impress clients and gain their respect for your company.

However, things may be difficult when it comes to satisfying your workers. That is because people may treat each other differently in the workplace.

This is why it is important to create a positive environment for your workers. One way to do that is by creating policies to hold workers who engage in gender discrimination accountable.

You may also offer other perks to your diverse employees. For example, you may hold events for important days for people belonging to minor sexual orientations or gender identities.

Keeping an event on the National Coming Out Day may help you offer an inclusive environment to your employees.

Educating company employees on different matters related to SOGI through frequent seminars is also a good way to create a supportive workplace.

Creating a complaint helpline for workers suffering due to gender discrimination can also be useful for developing a supportive environment.

Conducting frequent surveys may also help you learn about problems that people of diverse gender identities face in your company. You may then take active action to eliminate those problems.

Another way to create a supportive environment is by offering equal opportunities to your workers. Some employers give male and female workers a good number of sick leaves.

However, they may cut down leave days when someone belonging to the trans community asks for sick leave. You can offer the same number of holidays to all your workers for equality.

All these things will enhance the job satisfaction rate of your company. It will also encourage more qualified people to want to work at your office.

5.   Contact An Attorney To Help You Follow Gender-Inclusive Practices Based On The Law

The final thing you can do to improve gender identity in the workplace policies of your company is to hire an attorney. A lawyer can help you create a supportive and diverse working environment easily.

They may guide you on policies you can bring about to ensure job satisfaction of your trans, agender, non-binary, and other employees. A lawyer may also encourage you to implement policies that can reduce your company’s susceptibility to lawsuits.

For instance, an attorney may conduct interviews with each employee at your company. They may ask them questions about their views surrounding gender identity in the workplace.

Using the information from the interviews, the attorney can inform you of weak points regarding gender identity in the workplace at your company. They may also flag workers who may be showing signs of discriminating views.

These things can help you determine which employees you should retain after their contract is over and who to let go. Your lawyer may also develop a gender-inclusive plan for your company. This may include policy changes, new recruitments, and more.

The best thing about consulting a workplace discrimination lawyer is that it can save you from lawsuits. Their strategies may help you improve your credibility in the industry.

If a lawsuit is filed against you, a lawyer can also protect you against the complaint. They can collect evidence on your behalf to show that you respect gender identity in the workplace.


What Is The Importance Of Gender Identity?

The importance of gender identity in the workplace is that it can help a person maintain their authenticity and well-being. It can also promote equality and dignity in the workplace. Gender identity is also important because it can encourage social inclusion by challenging societal norms.

What Are Examples Of Sexual Orientation Discrimination In The Workplace?

An example of sexual orientation discrimination is a manager tasking highly qualified queer employees on petty tasks such as running coffee errands while giving important projects to straight workers.

Senior managers may also pass over asexual female employees for promotions regardless of their performances. HR officers may also hire straight workers over queer applicants.

How Do You Respect Gender Identity In The Workplace?

You can respect gender identity in the workplace by implementing policies that protect the rights of each person. Offering people of diverse genders equal opportunities that you would offer to those belonging to culturally acceptable genders.

Promoting gender-inclusive language is another to respect gender identity in the workplace.

Contact An Attorney To Create A Gender-Inclusive Workplace

That is all you need to know about gender identity in the workplace. Offering an inclusive environment to your workers is a must if you want your company to thrive.

You can talk to people within different departments of your company to introduce new policies. However, the best way to protect yourself from gender discrimination cases is to hire an attorney to help you create new policies.

The good news is you don’t have to look far for a workplace discrimination lawyer. Connect with us now to start your path to creating a gender-inclusive workplace.

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