Cheers to Workforce Management for a lead feature article and closing editorial on sexual orientation at work in its March 2011 issue. James Walsh leads with a piece about the possibility of extending employment discrimination protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity:
Emboldened by the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, gay rights groups have set their sights once again on the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA. The act would prohibit public and private employers, employment agencies and labor unions from using an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity as a basis for discrimination.
The article goes on to describe the growing political support for the legislation and changing attitudes toward gay and lesbian concerns at work.
In an issue-closing editorial, Ronald Alsop notes that “gays who were just beginning their careers back in 1974 are still vulnerable to workplace homophobia.”
Alsop expresses hope “that ENDA becomes law before yet another generation of gays retires from the workforce,” but he also recognizes that “corporate trailblazers…will continue to have the greatest impact in making gays feel welcome and safe at work and in expanding their career opportunities.”
I think Alsop gets it right. Legal protections are needed to support those who are subjected to discriminatory treatment, but genuine inclusion and acceptance will do more to help folks on an everyday basis.
The March issue is not yet posted to the magazine’s website; typically free online access is provided several months after the publication date.