June 14, 2019

LGBTQ Harassment Training for the Workplace

June is Pride Month, an annual event that commemorates the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. 2019 also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, which ushered in the LGBTQ movement for equality, according to the Library of Congress. For HR professionals, Pride Month is a great time to train employees on diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, and other workplace conduct issues, as part of a holistic approach to preventing workplace discrimination and harassment.

Strategies and best practices for addressing LGBTQ+ workplace issues is one of the session topics at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference, June 23-26, in Las Vegas. Traliant will be showcasing its Preventing Discrimination and Harassment Training Suite at the conference in Booth #824.

Diversity, Inclusion and Sensitivity Training
Diversity and inclusion are often lumped together, however, they are not the same. SHRM defines diversity as “the collective mixture of differences and similarities that includes for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviors.” Inclusion is about ensuring that people from diverse backgrounds feel a part of their organization’s culture and have meaningful roles in its operations and leadership. Training can teach employees how to apply the concepts of diversity and inclusion to their interactions and help them better understand the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace.

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Unconscious Bias Training
While we all have unconscious biases – hidden attitudes based on social stereotypes – in the workplace it’s important not to let biases get in the way of who we hire, promote and choose to work with. Unconscious bias training helps make employees more aware of their own biases so they can better manage them and avoid workplace decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions.  

Bystander Intervention Training
Bystander intervention – “if you see something, say something” – is considered one of the most effective ways to stop workplace harassment and prevent future incidents. Training employees on how to be active bystanders empowers them to both stop inappropriate conduct and show their support for co-workers, who may be targets of harassment because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, age or other characteristics.

Being An Ally
Organizations can use training to communicate the importance of being an ally to co-workers who are transitioning or coming out as LGBTQ, and to further explain policies and practices related to transitioning employees.

LGBTQ terminology
Training is also a valuable tool to clarify LGBTQ-related terms, which can help raise awareness and foster understanding among all employees and managers. Some common terms are:

  • Ally – refers to a person who is not LGBTQ but shows support for LGBTQ people and promotes equality in a variety of ways.
  • Sexual orientation – refers to one’s emotional, romantic or physical attraction to the same and/or other sex.
  • Transgender – an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression is different from those associated with the sex they were assigned at birth; transgender doesn’t indicate any specific sexual orientation.
  • Gender identityrefers to a person’s internal sense of gender, regardless of the sex assigned at birth. It can be male, female, or something else.
  • Gender expression – refers to a person’s external gender identity, often expressed through one’s name, pronouns, clothing, grooming, speech or interaction with others, which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.
  • Gender transition – refers to the process by which a person begins living as the gender with which they identify. Social transition includes dressing and grooming differently and using a name and pronouns recognized as another gender. Physical transition may include medical interventions.

Traliant Insight
While federal law and many state laws protecting LGBTQ individuals against discrimination are still evolving, organizations can take advantage of Pride Month to spark conversations about the importance of treating LGBTQ employees with the same respect, dignity and fairness that all employees expect, and the benefits of fostering a diverse, inclusive and welcoming culture.