Historic day for LGBT employees' workplace rights

Historic day for LGBT employees' workplace rights

Today is an historic day for LGBT workers, as a 53-year-old Civil Rights Act is ruled to include protections for LGBT employees – The Tribune reports.

In the US, a federal appeals court ruled that that 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBT employees from workplace discrimination.

This ruling comes three weeks after a three-judge panel ruled the opposite, saying employers aren’t prohibited from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation.

One of yesterday’s ruling judges, Judge Richard Posner, wrote that changing societal norms called for a change in the interpretation of the act.

Posner wrote: “I don’t see why firing a lesbian because she is in the subset of women who are lesbian should be thought any less a form of sex discrimination than firing a woman because she’s a woman.” 

Kimberley Hively, the teacher who brought the case forward after alleging that the college she worked at wouldn’t hire her full-time because she was a lesbian, said that the time has come “to stop punishing people for being gay, being lesbian, being transgender.”

In the UK, Steve Clarke, the openly-gay CEO of WHSmith, notes that when he first came out whilst working at Dixons, he wasn’t taken seriously.

Clarke said: “I was in a pub with them in Ealing, near the head office, and it was weird. People thought I was having them on so I was trying to name all the gay bars in London.

“After that I had a short stint working at Ladbrokes and I thought as [coming out] didn’t go particularly well at Dixons I wouldn’t bother. But my next job was in Australia and I made a point of telling the person who interviewed me so I wouldn’t feel it was a problem.”

However, in the UK, lists like Stonewall’s Top 100 employers for inclusivity have improved workforce diversity.

Click next to see this year’s top ten most inclusive employers.

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