How Companies Can Fight LGBT Discrimination

By Eric B. Meyer

I recently blogged here about the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission‘s first lawsuits challenging sexual-orientation discrimination as sex discrimination.

While part of the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan to address emerging and developing issues, getting federal courts to agree that sexual-orientation discrimination is unlawful under Title VII is an uphill battle.

But, that doesn’t stop American businesses from creating and enforcing their own rules in the workplace against LGBT discrimination.

KFC overturns manager’s decision

Over at BuzzFeed, there’s a report about a KFC manager who rescinded a job offer after learning that the applicant was transgender. Then, when corporate heard about what happened, it decided to flip the script:

But on Tuesday, national KFC spokespeople said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the company decided instead to fire the manager and offer the woman, Georgia Carter, a job “effective immediately.”

“The manager has been terminated for violating the franchisee’s anti-discrimination policy, which is inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation,” KFC said in a statement on Tuesday to BuzzFeed News. The company said the decision came after the owner of the franchise restaurant in Richmond investigated the situation.

As the article notes, “The intervention was a particularly swift example of a national corporation implementing its own LGBT nondiscrimination policies, even in a location where state law doesn’t offer employees the same protections.”

Polices to protect the LGBT workforce

Indeed, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, 407 major businesses — spanning nearly every industry and geography — earned a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”

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Regardless of whether federal courts recognize sexual-orientation discrimination as a cause of action, or you operate in a state or city where LGBT discrimination is already outlawed, you can implement policies and procedures to protect your LGBT workforce.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.