10 Examples of LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace

Despite efforts to bolster inclusion in the workplace, the LGBTQ community continues to face discrimination and prejudice. It seems, unfortunately, there are still those that refuse to accept people for who they are. While the fight for LGBTQ acceptance continues in America’s social landscape, here are ten common examples of discrimination still faced today. 

1. Offensive Terms

One of the top forms of sexual orientation discrimination is using slang and other offensive terms to dehumanize a target. Just like bullying in schools, this form of harassment bleeds over into workplace environments. It isn’t uncommon for any member of the LGBTQ community to hear a coworker label them with a derogatory term. 

2. Stereotyping

Discrimination isn’t just the use of offensive words, it also comes in the form of stereotyping. Stereotypes are often derived from misinformation and malice. Assuming that all LGBTQ people are the same or grouping them under a derogatory umbrella is just as heinous as using offensive terms. 

3. Denial of Opportunities

While highly illegal, members of the LGBTQ community are routinely passed over during job interviews. This form of sexual orientation discrimination extends to current employees as well who are regularly denied promotions or raises that their straight coworkers receive. 

4. Termination

It’s common knowledge that employers check their employees’ social media pages, but lawyers across the country take thousands of cases each year where an employee was terminated after their employer learned about their LGBTQ status. 

5. Sexual Harassment or Assault

In some extreme cases, the hate directed towards LGBTQ individuals manifests into something darker. Coworkers and managers alike target these individuals in a predatory sexual manner, harassing the employee and sometimes sexually assaulting them. Seven in ten LGBTQ staff members face this reality daily. 

6. Threats and Abuse

Even more common than sexual harassment are threats and abuse. Some vile individuals choose to threaten their LGBTQ coworkers with violence. In more extreme instances, those threats turn into acts of violence. 

7. The Hush Order

Some employers demand that their LGBTQ employees remain silent about their orientation. While they believe this is a way to limit harassment, it is a form of discrimination in itself. Being asked not to discuss your partner or not to place a picture of a partner on your desk, for instance, would count as discrimination if the same rules do not apply to those outside of the LGBTQ community. 

8. Different Treatment

Although more subtle, some employers simply treat their LGBTQ staff differently. Your employer might be harsher to you than others if you show up late, find ridiculous reasons for write-ups, or place demands on you that others in your department simply do not have. 

9. Refusal of Family Benefits

Some companies offer benefits that extend to their employees’ families. If your organization adopts this practice, then that include the families of LGBTQ employees as well. Your employer cannot deny your partner or family the same benefits as everyone else’s just because of your orientation or identity. 

10. Family Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Acts (FMLA) allows employees to take family and medical leave without any form of retaliation. Since the Defense of Marriage Act, that act now includes same-sex partners and common law partners. Some employers, however, fail to realize that the LGBTQ community has the same rights as everyone else.