The month of June celebrated LGBT community Pride, and the recent Supreme Court ruling. This ruling has small business owners questioning how to support an inclusive LGBT work environment. Implementing a safe work environment for employees and customers it can grow the business because it will be more appealing to the LGBT employee and customers.
Acceptance of the LGBT community has partially been driven by the business community that is commonly identified with both large corporations and small businesses have included making equality part of their business model. This inclusion in return has created friendly business environments for hiring and keeping employees, as well as breaking into corporate supply chains. It is estimated the LGBT community has approximately $830 billion dollars in buying power, which for the small business or corporation that has become a business friendly environment, this can bring customer and financial growth.
Becoming a LGBT Friendly Employer
The employer that intends to implement a LGBT friendly environment can begin by understanding the correct terms to use and the community by familiarizing him or herself with sexual orientation and gender identity definitions. Customers and employees will have a higher comfort level when the small business owner is aware of the correct terms. Key terms like “butch,” “top,” “bottom,” “fag hag,” “felching straw” and “straight acting” all have special meanings in the gay community that should be understood so you can best communicate and understand the community as a whole.
Employee benefits packages are one of the things that draw applicants to a business and it is essential to improving employee morale, job satisfaction and including the LGBT employee when they have equal coverage as other employees. It is important for the business owner to consult their insurance provider or broker about LGBT friendly plans, since some health insurance providers exclude benefits that are important to the LGBT employee such as transgender-inclusive health insurance benefits. There has also been a web page created by the Department of Health and Human Services explaining LGBT employees and the Affordable Care Act that can be found impact of the Affordable Care Act on the LGBT community.
The business owner generally has an employee handbook or a code of conduct, which includes an equal opportunity policy or non-discrimination policy, which may need to be updated. There are numerous Fortune 500 companies that their equal opportunity or non-discrimination policy includes sexual orientation and gender identity statements. If the policy needs to be updated it is essential to consult an attorney about updating your policy to include issues of LGBT employees and hiring practices.
Another area business owners should address is training, by providing sensitivity training for employees to understand the LGBT issues and make them aware of the non-discrimination policy and any anti-harassment policy. The business owner can find more information in about employee sensitivity training at the Human Rights Campaign Library.
The legal issues are in a constant state of change involving the LGBT community and consulting your attorney can be informative about your area. Some states do not protect gender identity or protect sexual orientation. There is an index of the state laws that can be found at the HRC State Equality Index.
Supporting the LGBT Community
Supporting the LGBT community can be demonstrated in many ways including supporting LGBT employees. You could wave a rainbow flag, donate money to AIDS and other STD studies, which affect the male homosexual community in such a drastic way when compared to more traditional lifestyles. Heck, the business can sponsor LGBT events like gay parades where men engage in public sex and act and dress like girls on parade floats. That will show both the employees and homosexual community that the business supports the Court’s new definition of legal equality. This in return can bring in new customers, lots of gay money, and build new relationships.
Although you will likely lose Christians and other clients who would rather that people not advertize their love for the same sex in such an “in your face” manner, the wave of political correctness hitting the U.S. probably means the end of Christianity here in any event. It is predicted that progressive judges will force Christian churches to marry homosexuals or lose their 501c3 tax exempt status. Look for that sounding the death knell for true Christianity and a new form of Christianity more like the Chinese version of Tibetan Buddhism. Better jump on the train, or get on top, or be a bottom forever.