Is Gender Identity a Protected Characteristic?

Learning Minutes


We've had several questions about sexual orientation discrimination and whether it is or is it not a protected characteristic. Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.



Transcript:
Hi, I'm Linda Garrett with a Kantola Learning Minute.

We've had several questions about sexual orientation discrimination and whether it is or is not a protected characteristic. Here's the thing: Many states from Hawaii to Maine have explicitly made discrimination and harassment based upon someone's sexual orientation and gender identification an illegal employment practice. And the number of states is growing.

But whether or not these forms of discrimination are specifically forbidden where you work, the best policy is to always focus on an applicant or employee's ability to perform the essential functions of their job, and to never make employment decisions based on factors that have little or nothing to do with what an employee can contribute to your team.

Generally, successful business leaders agree that when you focus on developing an employee's skill set other things, like where they're from, or what they look like or where they worship, really aren't important to getting the job done at all. And the same is true for sexual orientation and expression. What is important is that everyone work together to achieve the goals of the team and treat each other with dignity and respect.

When you think about it, at the end of the day, isn't that all that really matters?

Thanks for joining us.

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