I’ve been very fortunate, since my transition in 2010, to have been working for companies that didn’t discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexuality. The place where I was working when I came out was located in Maryland, in a county where such discrimination is illegal, and the job after that was based in California, which takes a dim view of discrimination as well.
My current job is in Houston, TX, where neither the city or the state provide any protection at all. But…well, read the relevant part of our Equal Employment Opportunity statement, current as of 12/2/2018:
cPanel provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, pregnancy, childbirth, physical disability, mental disability, age, military status or status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran, marital status, registered domestic partner or civil union status, gender (including sex stereotyping and gender identity or expression), medical condition (including, but not limited to, cancer related or HIV/AIDS related) or sexual orientation in accordance with applicable federal, state and local law. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to hiring, placement, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.
If that hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have applied, period, and my life would be on a very different trajectory right now, no doubt. So, policies do matter, certainly–the Human Right’s Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index requires the policy to include us for a high score. But there is a lot more to be done, as this piece in the Advocate pointed out.
The causes of discrimination and bias are not lack of policy, and adding a policy won’t fix the cause: hearts and minds. In order for equality to happen, hearts and minds and operational guidelines must all be aligned with broad policy. Here’s some thoughts:
- Does your company provide transgender-related medical care, including surgical intervention?
- Do you have a clear, easy, private method for employees to change their name and gender marker with HR, and on computer system accounts?
- Do you have a policy in place about outing someone as transgender?
- Have you published policy indicating that a person should use the restroom that matches their gender identity–and do non-transgender employees know this policy?
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. There’s a lot more going on here than bathrooms and hiring-and-firing policy, that must be fixed, before transgender people can enjoy full equality in the workplace.
Shameless Self-Promotion: I’m totally willing to help your company make progress, by coming to speak, and I’m kind of a cheap date for workshops of that nature–get in touch with me, if you need help.