Are You a Member of the LGBTQ+ Community Preparing for the Job Search?
The LGBTQ+ community represents individuals of the broad spectrum of sexual, affectional, and gender identities. The workplace can be quite different from college life, in terms of the openness of and support for LGBTQ+ employees. Industries and geographic regions may vary widely in their policies and support, and you will want to research your options carefully to meet your individual needs and goals.
On June 30, 2020 the Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ+ workers are protected, and cannot be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For more information visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's website
regarding protections for LGBTQ+ workers.
When should I come out? For many people, their sexual orientation and/or gender is an integral part of their identity, and they may want their workplace to understand. Others consider this private and unrelated to work. Nonetheless, there is no right answer as coming out is considered a personal decision and should be up to you. Students can make the decision to come out in the application process, after receiving a job offer holding “leverage,” or when they feel more comfortable once acquainted with the organization. Checkout this article by the Human Rights Campaign
if you would like to Come Out at Work.
The majority of employers denote this at the application portion, phrasing such as "XYZ Inc. is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate based on race, gender, age..." Look to see if sexual orientation and/or gender expression is included in their statement.
State & Local Regulation Regarding Discrimination
Consider gauging the state, county, city or community in your potential workplace. In the absence of employee identity groups at organizations, identify LGBTQ+ business owners and allies to learn more about the region you are targeting. For example, Houston, TX has the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce to connect with the LGBTQ+ and supportive business community. Take advantage of LGBTQ+ networks that are widely accessible through online searches in the area you are seeking employment. Reference Pride parades in cities to identify supportive organizations. Don't forget to contact the Texas A&M LGBTQ+ Pride Center and utilize the AggieNetwork to identify former students who are willing to provide advice and information to current students. For up to date non-discrimination policies in Texas, visit Freedom For All Americans. This will also highlight municipalities with non-discrimination protections.
Many employers, particularly large companies or organizations, extend domestic partner benefits that have traditionally been offered only to spouses of employees. Although information regarding domestic partner benefits is often very easy to find, it may not be discussed until you are offered a job, when benefits are discussed.
Affinity or LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups
Some major employers may offer established or non-work-connected LGBTQ+ groups. Formal groups are authorized and supported by the employer, informal groups are organized by the employees on their own time. Human resource professionals can tell you whether the employer has such an organization and can provide contacts. Here are some examples from a couple of employers that have an LGBTQ+ Group:
- USAA: LGBTQIA Diversity Business Group, aka. BOLD
- Phillips66: PRIDE66
- Marriott: ONE Marriott.
If you are working for an organization and would like to establish an LGBTQ Employee Resource Group, checkout this article by the Human Rights Campaign.