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Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Employees
in the Modern American Workplace
By Eric J. Roberson
Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Employees
in the Modern American Workplace
Until recently, lesbia...
Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson 
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employment, envir...
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business case for...
Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson 
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and satisfy diver...
Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson 
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(Johnston and Mal...
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To score 100% on ...
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duty or public ba...
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the United States...
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The 1990s
By the ...
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The new millenni...
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viewed the histo...
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passing of Propo...
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For opponents, w...
Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson 
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(Johnston and Ma...
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based on a patch...
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policies (Johnst...
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Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson 
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  1. 1. Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Employees in the Modern American Workplace By Eric J. Roberson Prepared for: Dr. Patricia Golemon ENG 3371 – Public Relations Writing University of Houston – Downtown Spring 2009 Semester
  2. 2. Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Employees in the Modern American Workplace   Until recently, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) employees were not protected against workplace discrimination and were unequally compensated for their contributions to American businesses. However, American businesses are rapidly changing. The American workplace has become more inclusive of the LGBT community, not just for LGBT employees but also for the LGBT consumer market, which has an enormous expendable net income expected to exceed $835 billion by 2011 (Ehart 1). Businesses have come to recognize the value that stakeholders bring to the tab le. Stakeholders are “any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of an organization’s objectives” (Johnston and Malina 602). The LGBT community is an active, significant, and growing group of corporate stakeholders (Johnston and Malina 621). LGBT people can act as stakeholders as employees or customers. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) One of the central tenets in stakeholder theory is that businesses should manage its many stakeholders in a way that achieves the purposes of the organization (Johnston and Malina 621). The stakeholders for this discussion are identified as current employees, future hires, consumers, shareholders and investors, and the broader community. Companies have come to rely on the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a guiding force for their business decisions. CSR is the overall relationship of the corporation with all its stakeholders, which include customers, employees, communities, owners or investors, government, suppliers, and competitors. CSR can also be defined as actions that appear to further some social good, over and above what is required by law (Johnston and Malina 603). Elements of social responsibility include investment in community outreach, employee relations, creation and maintenance of
  3. 3. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 2 of 18    employment, environmental stewardship, and financial performance. CSR is “an extensive regulatory framework—predominantly voluntary, soft and self-regulatory.” “The media . . . have been visible in their treatment of CSR issues and have expanded both the audience and the group of active participants” (Sahlin-Andersson 595). Workplace balance, diversity, and equality are principles for deciding whether an organization is credible, trustworthy, and solvent (Batstone 67). When applying CSR, companies are taking into consideration work-life balance issues for their employees. Employees teem with creative energies when people bring rich varieties of cultural experiences to the job, thus diversity has become another focal point for CSR (Batstone 67). “The value of a diverse workforce isn’t just about intellectual contribution. It’s also about reflecting and working to understand the values and communication systems of the people we work for and with” (Batstone 64). Diversity is not something that can be reduced to political correctness. Corporations view it as a business opportunity. Businesses that invest in a balanced workforce are more likely to reflect their customer base (Batstone 69). When it comes to public relations, marketing surveys show that people want to buy from people who have lived their cultural experience (Batstone 69). Companies need to demonstrate an awareness of social, human, and environmental issues (Shalin-Andersson 596). A strong business case for CSR is based on the following reasons: • Shareholder returns are maximized • Socially responsible investments are available • Companies are differentiated from others and competitive advantages emerge • Financial and social performance are linked through positive impacts on the bottom line • Investors, shareholders, and the public are shown the connection between their concerns and business decisions • Both legal and financial risks are reduced; Companies have begun to retain highly paid executives at the vice president level to ensure that their employment and marketing policies can withstand reasonable scrutiny, thereby furthering the
  4. 4. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 3 of 18    business case for CSR. “Everyone realizes that one misstep can destroy years of effort in building a company’s brand and reputation. The role of social responsibility in a company’s personnel policies is critical if it is going to avoid loss of share value and a negative image in the marketplace” (Hood 21). When there are accusations of socially disruptive or insensitive acts by a company, a public relations problem may be looming on the horizon (Hood 21). The media are apt to make workplace discrimination issues front page headlines. Employee Engagement “Employee engagement can be seen as the extent to which employees put effort and passion into their work. Engaged employees feel a strong connection to their company and are willing to go the extra mile to see the company succeed” (Deeks 1). Employee engagement is also strongly linked to turnover; employees who are engaged are more loyal to the company and less likely to leave (Deeks 1). When employees feel engaged they are more productive, which increases a company’s bottom line (Deeks 1). Employees are more likely to feel engaged when they are treated with dignity and respect and they understand the vision of the company and how their role contributes to the company’s goals (Deeks 1). Managers who avoid dealing with employee conflict at the workplace are at risk of losing great employees (Deeks 10). “The manager-employee relationship is likely the most important factor that affects employee engagement” (Deeks 1). Treating all employees with dignity and respect, including those who identify as LGBT, is a cornerstone for promoting employee engagement. Diversity & Inclusion Diversity has a positive impact on the bottom line by initiating a chain of causally linked phenomena within a company. Organizations with good diversity practices can recruit more effectively and retain well-qualified employees. Higher-quality employees are better able to identify, understand,
  5. 5. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 4 of 18    and satisfy diverse customers, which in turn increases a firm’s financial performance. Numerous studies across business disciplines have been conducted to test the individual links in the chain (Johnston and Malina 607). Scholars recognize that different types of diversity and inclusion efforts, such as affinity groups for women or people with disabilities, should not be generalized to other types, such as those for LGBT people. In fact, LGBT workplace issues are likely to be more contentious than those of gender or race, for example (Johnston and Malina 604). People cannot be instantly classified as sexual minorities, whereas race or gender are visible forms of diversity (Johnston and Malina 604). So, employees must self-identify as members of the LGBT community (Johnston and Malina 604). Their sexual identities are difficult if not impossible for LGBT people to conceal. Coming out at work is a very personal decision because the LGBT community is not protected from workplace discrimination by federal equal employment laws (Ioannou 33; Johnston and Malina 602). Despite the fact that one affinity group cannot be generalized to another, evidence associates positive returns on investment, returns on equity, and higher net income with “investments in progressive human resource management practices” (Johnston and Malina 605). “Specific to gender diversity management, Hannon and Milkovich (1996) found that being named as a best company for working mothers is associated with positive stock market returns” (Johnston and Malina 605). “Concerning racial diversity management, studies have found positive firm performance impacts from effective affirmative action programs” (Johnston and Malina 605). “As there are no reliable estimate of the size and partly invisible LGBT workforce, tests of the direct impact of sexual orientation workforce diversity on firm financial performance are elusive” (Johnston and Malina 605). Diversity in human capital is a source of competitive advantage because quality of thought, performance, and decision making are improved by including minority viewpoints (Johnston and Malina 607). The ability to handle diversity issues effectively allows a firm to better cope with change
  6. 6. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 5 of 18    (Johnston and Malina 608). Another benefit of diversity is that companies may invest in progressive human resource polices to gain public notoriety and its associated benefits (Johnston and Malina 608). Companies’ human resource policies and marketing reputations impact attitudes and behaviors of current employees, perspective employees, customers, and shareholders (Johnston and Malina 608). These ideas share a common logic that links competencies and reputation to employee commitment and effectiveness, predicting a positive impact from the effective management of workplace diversity (Johnston and Malina 608). Stockholders favorably react to the notion of allocations for social purposes including those specifically attributable to LGBT workplace equality policies (Johnston and Malina 621). Together, studies suggest that “firms need to show that being gay will not make an impact on a person’s career” (Middleton 8). When it comes to small and medium-sized businesses, there are still large variations as to how open LGBT people are and how comfortable they are being out at work (Hoffman 53). “It may be evidenced by a public commitment to go well beyond minimum standards when dealing with . . . the treatment of employees in positive social change that contribute toward stability and to create very favorable business climates” (Hood 21). Statistical Information The Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual report by an LGBT advocacy group called the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is often used to measure a company’s commitment to LGBT workplace equality. CEI scores are not solely based on company self-reports (Johnston and Malina 604). Several data sources are used to construct the measure such as self-reported surveys, press releases, employee resource groups, and other advocacy groups (Johnston and Malina 606). The HRC uses a team of researchers to double-check corporate policies by investigating SEC filings, case law, news accounts, and employee accounts (Johnston and Malina 606).
  7. 7. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 6 of 18    To score 100% on the CEI, a company must meet all of the following criteria: • Has a written nondiscrimination policy covering sexual minorities and includes protections for gender identity • Offers health care coverage to employees’ same-sex domestic partners • Officially recognizes and supports an LGBT employee resource group • Offers workplace diversity training that includes sexual orientation or gender expression • Engages in respectful and appropriate marketing practices to the LGBT community • Does not engage in any corporate action that would undermine the goal of equal rights for LGBT people (Johnston and Malina 607) Other publicly available ratings include KLD Research and Analytics Inc.’s “KLD Score.” KLD scores compile social records from more than 650 companies listed on the S&P 500 or Domini 400 Social Indexes. Some components of the diversity category in the KLD score are progressive LGBT policies, strength in diversity practices, and availability of domestic partner benefits (Johnston and Malina 609). Results from a study published in the journal Group and Organization Management suggest that the stock market views managing sexual orientation diversity in the workplace as increasing firm value on the date of the announcement (Johnston and Malina 617). It appears that firms are not penalized for supporting LGBT workforce diversity (Johnston and Malina 621). The study found that the stock market does not expect exemplary race and gender diversity management necessarily implies exemplary sexual orientation diversity management (Johnston and Malaina 621). The study also revealed that managing sexual orientation diversity is relevant to more than one stakeholder (Johnston and Malina 621). “By providing equal treatment for LGBT employees and consumers, management satisfies these stakeholders without penalizing shareholders. Findings suggest that LGBT-friendly workplace policies are at worst value neutral and offer an empirical demonstration that opponents’ arguments based on the threat to shareholder value are unfounded. The fear of breaching fiduciary
  8. 8. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 7 of 18    duty or public backlash should not justify inaction that sustains the discriminatory status quo” (Johnston an Malina 621). Case Law Before considering the history of LGBT rights, developments in case law should first be reviewed. In Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996), the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that governmental discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is cognizable under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (Leonard 15). The United States Supreme Court dismantled a significant barrier in Oncale v. Sundowner Industries Inc., 5234 U.S. 75 (1998). In Oncale, the justices unanimously rejected the argument that Title VII was inapplicable to cases in which the plaintiff alleges harassment by coworkers of the same sex. The Court merely insisted, without any illuminating discussion, that plaintiffs must show they were discriminated against “because of sex” to prevail under the statute (Leonard 16). In Quinn v. Nassau County Police Dept., 53 F.Supp.2d 347 (E.D.N.Y. 1999), a federal court ruled that a county police officer who claimed to have suffered workplace discrimination because he was gay could bring an equal protection claim against his employer, and the officer subsequently won a substantial jury verdict. As a result of the Quinn case, public employers became unable to justify any anti-gay employment policies (Leonard 15). In Weaver v. Nebo School Dist, 29 F.Supp. ed 1279 (C.D. Utah 1998), the court found a constitutional violation when the school district relieved a lesbian teacher of coaching sports and sought to restrict her from discussing her sexuality publicly. Before established case law, defending public officials enjoyed qualified immunity, because antidiscrimination protection for gay people was not yet well established as a constitutional principle. As mentioned above in Romer and with subsequent courts of appeals decisions, immunity arguments are losing their force (Leonard 16). In fact, officials are now on notice that anti-gay discrimination violates the Constitution. In Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist., 324 F.3d 1130 (9th Cir. 2003),
  9. 9. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 8 of 18    the United States Court of Appeals held that a school failed to take reasonable steps to remedy harassment when six former high school students said they were harassed for their sexual orientation (Leonard 16). Still, there are fewer options for legal redress for individuals who suffer workplace discrimination in private sector employment (Leonard 16). The bottom line for LGBT employees is that a variety of potential sources of legal protections exist in many parts of the country even lacking an outright federal ban. For employers, the bottom line is that even in the absence of a federal law banning workplace discrimination, they are likely to have some legal obligations regarding sexual minority job applicants and employees, so they need to be educated about LGBT workplace issues in order to avoid embarrassing situations and potential liabilities (Leonard 21). “Many employers can attest to the valuable productivity of sexual minority employees, especially in workplaces where they are treated with the dignity and respect that reinforces employee loyalty” (Leonard 21). LGBT History During the 1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued an executive order banning the employment of homosexuals in the federal government. Eisenhower labeled LGBT people “sexual deviants” (Leonard 14). One of the aspects of the gay rights revolution over the past fifty years has been that many public officials who once would have had no compunctions about publicly stating that gay people were “disgusting perverts who should not hold public employment” now would be quite inhibited about taking such a stance. “During the 1970’s, the National Gay Task Force (as it was then called) began to survey major corporate employers about their policies, and the very act of being asked about their policies stimulated some companies to ban sexual orientation discrimination in order to keep their policies up to date. This trend accelerated during the 1980s, as the AIDS epidemic prompted human resources professionals to focus on the concerns of the affected employees who, at least in corporate America, were disproportionately gay men” (Leonard 17).
  10. 10. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 9 of 18    The 1990s By the 1990’s, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force was reporting that a substantial majority of the largest corporate employers had antidiscrimination policies in place and some of them included gender identity (Leonard 17). Corporate policies were expanding to embrace nondiscrimination of sexual minorities at a time when the common law framework was making voluntarily adopted polices potentially binding through contractual promises like employee personnel manuals and handbooks (Leonard 17). American workplaces have undergone a partial revolution over the last quarter century when it comes to LGBT equality. Public attitudes toward homosexuality became more liberal during the 1970s, then increasingly conservative through the 1980s, and then more liberal since 1990 (Bartkowski and Wood 60). “Over the same time period, support for civil liberties for gays appears to have steadily increased, primarily influenced by age cohort replacement and rising levels of education” (Bartkowski and Wood 60). The media also had an effect on attitudes. “Media coverage” of CSR issues “expanded dramatically in the 1990s” (Sahlin-Andersson 596); news stories in the media featuring LGBT workplace issues exploded in the same time period. “The publication of a National Institutes of Health study published in Science in 1993 stirred controversy by alleging to have found empirical evidence supporting ‘gay gene theory’ ” (Bartkowski and Wood 59). Responses collected from the 1993 General Social Survey revealed that 44.8% of respondents said homosexuality was “something they cannot change” (Bartkowski and Wood 63). “Toward the end of the twentieth century, President Bill Clinton issued executive orders banning sexual orientation discrimination in federal civilian employment, and ending discriminatory security clearance procedures” to enter the armed services (Bartkowski and Wood 64).
  11. 11. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 10 of 18    The new millennium According to current CEI reports, companies are taking stands through internal policies. In 2002, the first year HRC published the CEI, only 5% of rated businesses provided workers with protection from discrimination based on gender identity. That same year, only 13 companies earned a perfect score of 100% on the CEI (Cadrain 46). Today, transgendered employees are protected from discrimination at 66% of surveyed companies and approximately 90% include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies (Danzig 1). Forty-nine of the top Fortune 50 companies offer domestic partner benefits. Still, there are no employment protection laws in 42 states for gender identity, and in 33 states it is legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. Nonetheless, sexual minorities are protected from discrimination through municipal laws at the local level in many U.S. cities. In 2004, President George Bush was named Time Magazine’s person of the year. Time’s choice was met with backlash, including one newspaper editorial saying “Fifty years from now, I suspect that Bush’s position on gay rights—in particular his opposition to gay marriage—will look as misguided as opposition to civil rights in the 1960s looks today” (Ellis 41). That same year, the HRC publicly denounced the Home Depot Corporation for covering employees’ pets, but not their partners, with insurance (Prince 18). The Home Depot announced in September 2004 that it would begin offering domestic partner health coverage to its 300,000 employees beginning in 2005. (Prince 18). Despite fierce opposition in 2004, gay men and lesbians won marriage equality in the state of Massachusetts. This was only one milestone in the struggle for LGBT rights. An article published in Advocate Magazine shortly after Massachusetts gay marriage went into effect contended that “Gay men and lesbians will face years of struggle, not only in Massachusetts but around the nation, as Americans confront the constitutional, cultural, and moral implications of gay marriage” (Giltz and Moats 30). Evan Wolfson, the executive director of New York City-based “Freedom to Marry,”
  12. 12. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 11 of 18    viewed the historic decision toward marriage equality as a “civil rights moment in which the country is finally being forced to grapple with the issue. As with most social movements, there are times when people decide to seize the initiative” like in Massachusetts (Giltz and Moats 31). Today In 2007, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed an executive order aimed at protecting state employees from workplace discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Sebelius said “We need to make sure in Kansas that all our employees are treated with dignity and respect and that the doors of state employment are open to all” (Rothschild 1). The 2009 CEI rated 583 businesses on their treatment of LGBT employees, with 259 of those companies earning a perfect score of 100%, 64 more companies compared to the 2008 survey (Danzig 1). “Employers understand that discrimination against LGBT workers will ultimately hurt their ability to compete in the global marketplace” (“Equality Index” 1). “But the United States didn’t learn from the last time. Instead, Americans respond to the demands for [LGBT] equality by remixing a familiar tune. After years of resistance to gays and lesbians, intolerance has decelerated from outright hate to something more like indifference or pandering. It will linger here until enough people stick their necks out and force the country toward acceptance” (Williams 1). “The number of Americans who support gay rights is growing. Unfortunately, more people are indifferent to the fact that America is, once again, in the throes of battle over civil rights” (Williams 2). Disregarding all the positive support that has developed for LGBT people, State Representative Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) received national attention in March 2008 when she said “gay people are a bigger threat to the country than terrorism or Islam” (Hinton 2). “Gays and lesbians want to live with the person they love and be treated like normal Americans” (Giltz and Moats 29). As evidenced in Massachusetts, and in California before the
  13. 13. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 12 of 18    passing of Proposition 8 that banned gay marriage in the state in late 2008, marriage equality has become the capstone for gay men and lesbians after years of enduring discrimination and prejudice (Giltz and Moats 29). The quest for LGBT rights has come to mean that “Every person deserves to earn a living, make a home and seek a lifelong relationship without the constant threat of discrimination or abuse”, which includes marriage equality (Williams 2). With marriage equality for LGBT people across America, businesses could rely on established marriage laws in benefits offerings. Since all spouses would be equally recognized, gay marriage would mean an end to complicated insurance packages with special provisions to cover domestic partners. Ideologies “The lifestyle choice in opposition to, and the gay gene attributions in support of LGBT people, are the two most prominent ideological positions that have emerged” (Bartkowski and Wood 60). American’s attitudes toward the morality of homosexuality are distinct from attitudes about whether LGBT people should be allowed certain civil rights (Bartkowski and Wood 60). Opposition Companies do make the mistake that anti-gay-relationship laws such as the Defense of Marriages Act (DOMA) applies to them (Cadrain 49). People whose religions disapprove of sexual minorities sometimes believe their statements in the workplace are protected religious speech, and that sanctions against it are religious harassment; however, someone who engages in hate speech at work can be lawfully terminated for violating company antidiscrimination policies (Cadrain 48). “The conservative press likes to echo the old cliché that business should be left to business, and society should be left to the government” (Hood 21). “What the far right fears more than anything is that gays and lesbians will be allowed to emerge from the shadows to win acceptance from the public at large” (Glitz and Moats 30).
  14. 14. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 13 of 18    For opponents, workplace equality for LGBT employees is at best misguided CSR and a threat to shareholder value. At worst, it threatens the moral values of society (Johnston and Malina 603). Opponents of inclusiveness of sexual minorities in the workplace often cite economic or moral justifications (Johnston and Malina 608). They assert that “corporate expenditures on social causes are a violation of management’s responsibility to shareholders.” Thus, offering domestic partner benefits to LGBT employees is viewed as detrimental to company profits (Johnston and Malina 608). “According to this economic perspective, any investment in CSR is in violation of management’s fiduciary duty to shareholders” (Johnston and Malina 608). Opponents also warn of “community and consumer backlash” because progressive human resource policies conflict “with the conservative norms of much of American society.” Opponents commonly view domestic partner benefits as an endorsement of LGBT families (Johnston and Malina 608). “Many opponents do not see sexual orientation as a civil rights issue and instead consider LGBT employees as [sic] immoral people” (Johnston and Malina 610). Worse, other opponents claim that LGBT equality is damaging to society as a whole (Johnston and Malina 604). Support Anti-gay lobbying conducted by politically and religiously conservative organizations has met with counter-mobilization from pro-gay organizations, with the latter drawing parallels between historic forms of racism and current opposition to gay rights” (Bartkowski and Wood 59). “Etiological beliefs about homosexuality have a strong influence on public policy attitudes toward gay rights” (Bartkowski and Wood 58). “Proponents of LGBT workplace equality suggest that good corporate citizenship increases firm value although opponents argue that the primary, if not sole, purpose of the firm is to maximize shareholder wealth, and that the value of the firm may be negatively affected due to public backlash” (Johnston and Malina 602). For proponents, equitable workplace policies and practices not only make good business sense, but are also a manifestation of appropriate CSR policies
  15. 15. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 14 of 18    (Johnston and Malina 603). “Approaching diversity issues with a focus on CSR is good business sense and what is right from both a moral and market-oriented viewpoint” (Hood 21). Many proponents consider LGBT workplace policies a civil rights issue (Johnston and Malina 610). Proponents of gay rights believe that there are strong biological factors or genetic predispositions that confer on gay persons a minority status (Bartkowski and Wood 59). Religion or belief does not give individuals the right to discriminate against, bully, or harass gay and lesbian people (“Why Equality” 3). The strong positive associations between biological attributions of homosexuality and support for gay rights are highly regarded by businesses (Bartkowski and Wood 58). Companies do not have to treat discrimination as if it were outside their control (Batstone 61). “It must be an intolerable situation to know you are working in an environment where you feel your contributions are not valued . . . and even more worrying is that employers are not trained to be aware of the types of issues that can make people feel undervalued and ineffective (“Why Equality” 1). Conclusion LGBT workplace equality closely draws on people’s attitudes about discrimination and fair play (Johnston and Malina 620). “Proponents draw from the resource-based view and the business case of diversity to suggest that good corporate citizenship increases firm value. However, opponents reference either the purely economic point of view that the primary, if not sole purpose of the firm is to maximize wealth for shareholders or the threat of public backlash” (Johnston and Malina 621). “The fact that employer bias persists nonetheless suggest that dogged resilience of social prejudice” (Batstone 67). Much remains to be done before workplaces are routinely regarded as truly being LGBT friendly (Cadrain 49). Since no federal law bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the legal status of sexual minorities in America remains complicated
  16. 16. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 15 of 18    based on a patchwork of constitutional case law, state and local statues, and contracts and tort case law developments (Leonard 14). Based on statistical studies such as the CEI, many workplaces are still aggressively heterosexist and intolerant of any differences, but they are trending towards being more welcoming and accepting of LGBT employees. Contemporary research shows “organizations must adopt strong equal opportunity policies for female employees and minority groups to help and retain staff” (“Strong Equality Policies” 1). “If people are not able to be themselves, they will underperform” (Harrison 12). Employees need to know that their companies take workplace diversity issues seriously and are trying to create better workplaces for everyone (Harrison 13). One of the most salient discussions concerns why and how businesses should engage in the trend toward workplace equality for LGBT employees. “Presidents who have resisted the expansion of rights have not looked good in the history books” (Ellis 41). Correlated to business, “the most successful companies know that it is in their best business interests to take the ethical high ground” (Hood 1). Social responsibility has become a strategic initiative for many companies, and for customers who have come to expect nothing less. Such actions serve a company’s public image well (Hood 1). Flattering media coverage for enlightened employment policies wins enthusiastic customer support from groups that feel the company cares about who they are (Batstone 67). New stakeholder demands, corporate responsibilities, and scrutiny of corporate actions are being reconsidered in today’s marketplace. Businesses can generate higher profits and do more social good if they align their interests with society, and they will have more choices in setting their own CSR standards (Heal). “In addition to being the dominant route through which economic and financial wealth is created, business is increasingly molding societal values and norms as well as defining public policy and practice” (Johnston and Malina 620). Stockholders act favorably to the notion of allocations for social purposes, including those specifically attributable to LGBT workplace equality
  17. 17. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 16 of 18    policies (Johnston and Malina 621). Companies do not do things for fun—it all relates to the bottom line (Cadrain 44). Companies looking for new clients or new young professionals to recruit know it pays to be diverse (Whitesall 13). To attract and retain the best possible employees, companies must utilize the best employment practices available. “Equal opportunities is one of the important drivers in employee engagement” along with “corporate social responsibility and work-life balance” (“Strong Equality Policies” 1). All companies can expect certain standards of behavior from their employees based on company policies, and employees should expect to demonstrate appropriate respect of company policies (Cadrain 49). When LGBT diversity practices are implemented employee retention or recruitment, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction all improve (Johnston and Malina 622). Diverse workforces are better at problem-solving and creating innovative solutions (Whitesall 13). Affirming words from the top executives down leave no doubt of a company’s commitment to making better workplaces for LGBT people, as well as for other minorities (Ioannou 33). For employees to feel that diversity initiatives have a real relevance to them, diversity has to work at a basic level (Ioannou 33). In order to keep pace with current events, organizations must seriously consider the issues of workplace diversity and LGBT workplace equality in conjunction with their CSR practices. “The business case for LGBT-friendly policies relies on the chain of causally linked phenomena starting with an affirming and safe workplace and ending with improved financial performance” (Johnston and Malina 622).
  18. 18. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 17 of 18    Bibliography Bartkowski, John P. and Peter B. Wood. “Attribution Style and Public Policy Attitudes Toward Gay Rights.” Social Science Quarterly 85.1 (Mar. 2004): 58-74. Batstone, David. “Equality and Diversity.” Journal of Organizational Excellence (Summer 2004): 61-71. Cadrain, Diane. “Sexual Equity in the Workplace.” HR Magazine Sep. 2008: 44-50. Danzig, Christopher. “Engendering Equality.” Inside Counsel Oct. 2008: 1. Deeks, John. “Growing Great Employees: Fostering Employee Engagement.” Business Vancouver (17 Apr. 2007): 1-2. Ehart, Tom. “Buying Power of U.S. Gays and Lesbians to Exceed $835 Billion by 2011.” Witeck Combs Communications Press Release. 25 Jan. 2007. Ellis, Joseph. “A Missed Moment on Gay Rights.” Time Magazine 164.26 (27 Dec. 2004): 41. “Equality Index Show Major Improvement for Businesses.” High Point Enterprise (NC) 18 Sep. 2007 <https://ezproxy.uhd.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2 W62W6340611948&site=ehost-live>. Giltz, Michael and David Moats. “The Tipping Point.” The Advocate 11 May 2004: 29-35. Heal, Geoffery. Keynote Speech. “When Principles Pay.” Carnegie Council for International Affairs, New York, NY 21 May 2008 <http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/media/video/data/000061>. Harrison, Sarah. “Equality for Gay Staff Can Only Be Good for the Workforce as a Whole.” Nursing Standard 22.22 (6 Feb. 2008): 12-13. Hinton, Mick. “Kern Attacks Gay-rights Groups Over Planned Event.” Tulsa World (OK) 15 May 2008: 2. Hood, James C. “Social Responsibility and Corporate Citizenship.” New Hampshire Business Review. 9 Dec. 2005: 21. Ioannou, Rob. “Sexuality and the City.” People Management 7. 9 (33 May 2001): 33. Johnston, Derek and Mary A. Malina. “Managing Sexual Orientation diversity: The Impact of Firm Value.” Group and Organization Management 33.5 (Oct. 2008): 601-625.
  19. 19. Equality for LGBT Employees in the Modern American Workplace  by Eric J. Roberson        Page 18 of 18    Leonard, Arthur S. “The Gay Rights Workplace Revolution.” Human Rights Magazine 1 Jul. 2003: 14-22 < http://www.abanet.org/irr/hr/summer03/workplace.html>. Middleton, David. “Stonewall: Firms Not Gay-friendly Enough.” The Lawyer 15 Jan. 2007. Prince, C.J. “Winning Equality in the Workplace.” The Advocate 12 Oct. 2004: 18. Rothschild, Scott. “Sexual-orientation Discrimination Outlawed: Governor’s Order Affects 25,000 State Employees.” Lawrence Journal-World And News 1 Sep. 2007 <http://www2.ljworld.com/news/ 2007/aug/31/sebelius_bans_discrimination_against_gays_state_wo/>. Sahlin-Andersson, Kerstin. “Corporate Social Responsibility: A Trend and a Movement, but of What and for What?” Corporate Governance 6.5 (2006): 595-608. “Strong Equality Policies Key To Retaining Talent.” Personnel Today 17 Jul. 2007. Whitesall, Amy. “The Future of Diversity.” Crain’s Detroit Business 24.15 (14 Apr. 2008): 11-13 <https://ezproxy.uhd.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bwh&AN=3 1791889&site=ehost-live>. “Why Equlaity and Diversity Is a Key Issue in Today’s Workplace.” M2PressWire 2 Nov. 2006: 1-3 <https://ezproxy.uhd.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=16 PU4068760000&site=ehost-live>. Williams, Rochelle. “Opinion: Gay rights are civil rights.” Fayetteville Observer, The (NC) (7 Mar. 2008): 1-2 <https://ezproxy.uhd.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct= true&db=nfh&AN=2W62W&site=ehost-live>.