LGBTQ+ Pride in the Workplace

June 2021 marks one year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a person can’t be fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yet, the ruling from the high court does not address all workplace concerns for the LGBTQ+ community. The federal law doesn’t protect those who work at businesses with fewer than 15 workers. It doesn’t address bathrooms for transgender people. It does not apply to small businesses with fewer than 15 employees and does not address firings for religious reasons.

Then there are gaps in employee benefits. Some employers may not pay for medical care for transgender people, or could leave out LGBTQ families.

That’s not to diminish the significance of the Supreme Court ruling, which some advocates say was an even bigger deal for LGBTQ Americans than marriage equality.

The “decision was a watershed,” said Kasey Suffredini, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, which advocates for LGBTQ rights. “But at the same time it’s so basic and entry level. Now we actually get into the details into how that discrimination plays out in everyday lives.”


Transgender workers and people in same-sex relationships often face disparities in access to health care. Employers play a role because they work with insurance companies to decide which treatments should be covered under their employees’ health insurance plans.

For example, an insurance plan that a company crafts for employees may cover hormone treatments for a woman undergoing menopause, but it might not cover hormone treatments that a doctor prescribes for a transgender patient. And same-sex couples sometimes are shut out of benefits such as access to fertility treatments, which are in some states only offered to couples that are not the same gender.

Treatments for HIV, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men, are sometimes shortchanged by insurance plans.

“Some HIV drugs may be outright not covered by insurance at all, or may be covered with copays or deductibles that make the drug essentially inaccessible,” Suffredini said. “It’s like the functional equivalent of denying coverage altogether.”


Not all workers are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which only applies to business with 15 employees or more. But some states have laws that do cover those workers.

Fifteen states have nondiscrimination laws that cover all employers, regardless of size, according to Freedom for All Americans. Another 22 states have laws that cover workers at employers with at least two employees or more.

Connecticut, for example, extends the protections to workplaces with at least three employees, and Arkansas extends it to employers with nine, Freedom for All Americans said.


Dress codes and uniforms can present challenges for transgender employees. Rachel Mosby, who was the fire chief in Byron, Georgia, says she was fired from her job after she began showing up to work in feminine dress suits and skirts instead of one of the masculine suits she had been wearing for the last decade. Mosby spent more than $500 of fire department money on the suits, but was issued a written reprimand and required to pay the department back. When she bought herself male suits a decade earlier, there had been no issue.

“These implicit biases and systemic discrimination against people that are others, none of that has gone away,” Mosby said. “It’s still there, and that’s what we have to fight against. That’s what we have to work to remove from our system.”

Mosby filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the city for her termination.


In their ruling, the Supreme Court judges made clear that they weren’t going to make a call on whether a business can fire an employee for religious reasons, leaving that an open question.

“It kind of punted on those issues and said we can address these at a later date,” said Todd Anten, a lawyer at Quinn Emanuel.

Employers that have religious objections to employing LGBT people might be able to raise those claims in a different case, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the court.


Another issue the Supreme Court said it wouldn’t decide this week: same-sex bathrooms and locker rooms.

Jerame Davis, executive director of LGBTQ workplace advocacy group Pride at Work, said employers right now have a lot of leeway in how they respond if a colleague doesn’t want a transgender person to use the same restroom or locker room as them. Often times, the transgender person is singled out and asked to use a different facility, which isn’t ideal, Davis said.

“We shouldn’t be singling out individuals,” he said.


Most workers in the U.S. do not have access to paid family leave to care for a newborn. But among those that have access to family leave, the policies often favor birth mothers, said Gabriel Dobson, 34, a gay man who is married to another man.

Dobson left his last job because he felt his employer was not promoting him because he is black and gay. Now, at a company that’s more culturally inclusive, Dobson is facing subtler challenges. His new company offers 16 weeks of family leave to a mother who gives birth to a child, but only four weeks to a parent who did not give birth. That’s making him wonder how he and his husband would manage if they adopt a child.

“When you are both non-birth parents and you have a child, who is going to get that time off to take care of the child?” Dobson asked. “It makes you feel like your situation is odd, when that’s not typically how I feel about my situation.”


Many employers may not know how many LGBTQ people it employs, which makes it hard to make sure they’re invited or included in particular programs.

Some big employers do allow employees to indicate on their human resources forms that they are LGBTQ, like they do for gender and race, said M.V. Lee Badgett, an economics professor and co-director of the Center for Employment Equity at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“I think employers that are trying to be proactive and are looking at gender gaps or maybe racial wage gaps, they should try to think about ways that they could do the same for LGBT people,” Badgett said.

Source: AP News

3 Signs of a Miserable Job

You don’t need to be reminded if you have a miserable job. You already know if you’re reluctant to get out of bed in the morning, if you’re scouring job boards, and if you’re emotionally exhausted and defeated at the end of each workday. But it’s important to know the root cause of your job misery so you can find a way out of it.

Author Patrick Lencioni addresses the problem of job dissatisfaction in his book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, which was originally published with the title “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job.” The book is for managers improving the health of organizations but knowing Lencioni’s three signs is also helpful for employees. Being aware of these three signs, you can take better actions that bring satisfaction to your current job and, if your action is leaving your job, asking interview questions to detect another miserable job.

First, you must distinguish between a bad job and a miserable job. A bad job, as Lencioni explains, can be based on pay, prestige, process, or whatever a person values in their work. A miserable job is objective. It’s largely the same if you’re a university president, a professor, admissions counselor, maintenance worker, or anyone else on campus who dreads going to work.

Also, the manager is often a reason why employees are miserable. There’s truth to the saying that people quit bosses, not jobs. According to a 2019 survey by DDI, 57 percent of employees have left their jobs because of managers (another 32 percent considered it), while Gallup research shows that managers account for at least 70 percent of variance in employee engagement scores. No wonder Lencioni’s book is directed at managers.

Managers influence each of the three causes of job misery, but that doesn’t mean employees should be absolved from their own job satisfaction. For example, if your boss doesn’t give you feedback, don’t sulk in the misery of not having adequate feedback — ask for it! The same goes for a miserable job that you’ve attempted to remedy: eventually you need to move on and find a better job.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are Lencioni’s three signs of job misery, followed by one action and one job interview question for each:

#1 Anonymity

If nobody cares what you’re doing and you feel anonymous, you’re not going to feel satisfied with your work. Although you might profess modesty and say you don’t need praise from your boss, not being recognized for your work has both conscious and subconscious psychological effects on your wellbeing. Consider Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: once your basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, and security are met, what’s important is a sense of belonging and love. One of the many lessons learned from the pandemic, and remote work, is that the higher education industry desperately relies on an environment with human contact, which means less anonymity and more human interest.

Action to take in your current job: Make it easier for your manager to recognize that you’re a human being and not an agent for workplace transactions. Talk to your boss about what you’re going through and what you’ve accomplished. Don’t conform to his or her lack of empathy or social skills. Act more like the manager you want. “Employees who take a greater interest in the lives of their managers are bound to infect them with the same kind of human interest they seek,” Lencioni told Fast Company.

Question to ask in a job interview: “What do employees at your institution do well and how are they recognized or rewarded for their work?” Give hiring managers a chance to talk about their employees because that’s how they’ll describe you if you’re hired.

#2 Irrelevance

Everyone needs to know that their job matters to people, not just to the manager. Employees need to see the connection between their work and the satisfaction of others, both in large and small ways. To quote the 18th-century economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith, people desire “not only to be loved, but to be lovely,” meaning that praise is not enough but also knowing that respect was earned. “There are jobs that have an obvious impact on the lives of others,” Lencioni told the Harvard Business Review in an episode of the IdeaCast. “Even a teacher needs to be reminded about what a profound impact they have on their students.”

Action to take in your current job: Have more conversations with students so you see the impact of your work through them. A 2007 study led by Wharton management professor Adam Grant showed that university call center employees, after just a five-minute conversation with a student scholarship recipient, dedicated 142 percent more time to fundraising phone calls and raised 171 percent more money.

Question to ask in a job interview: “How have students benefited from the work that your employees do that students would not otherwise experience at other institutions?” If the search committee can’t offer at least one specific example, that’s a sign they see themselves and their employees as irrelevant.

#3 Immeasurement

This is Lencioni’s term to describe the inability of employees to gauge their own progress and level of contribution. Lencioni wrote that “people cannot be fulfilled in their work if their success depends entirely on the opinions or whims of another person,” in most cases their manager. “Without tangible means of assessing success or failure, motivation eventually deteriorates as people see themselves as unable to control their own fate,” Lencioni added. Basically, if you don’t know if you’re winning or losing at work, then you’re experiencing immeasurement.

Action to take in your current job: Develop your own short- and long-term metrics to track your work and tie it to the demands of your academic discipline (tenure requirements) or the strategic plan or mission of the institution (graduation or job placement rates). Obviously, there’s a delayed return on many of your efforts, so create personal productivity metrics that you can track on a daily basis: minutes of deep work, phone calls with prospective students or donors, or students’ engagement rates with online course content. Compile a report each week, month, or semester and email it to your manager, which will also address both your anonymity and irrelevance.

Question to ask in a job interview: “How do you define success for this position/department and what do you measure to know when success is achieved?” Make sure you ask about time frames, so you know if the expectations are reasonable. Playing a losing game can also be miserable.

In conclusion, there are many signs of miserable jobs but there are also many ways to escape this misery, by addressing these three causes or finding a new job. You have the ability to take action.

Source: Justin Zackal