By Dustin Walker, MEd Higher Education Practicum Student
"When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free." – Barack Obama
A job search can be a scary, overwhelming experience when you are part of the LGBT+ community because there is a lot of fear. Fear that you will not find a company that values you, your worth and your skills - but things have changed. Many companies have adopted language prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, but it is knowing how to identify those companies and their efforts to create an inclusive environment that is important.
Non-Discrimination & Anti-Harassment Policy
One of the first steps you should do when job seeking is to locate the companies non-discrimination statement. This is a black and white picture of the organization's commitment to an inclusive environment. Typically, a non-discrimination or anti-harassment policy can be located on the job application itself at the very bottom underneath the job description. Keywords when scanning a policy for inclusiveness is to look for protected groups important to the LGBT+ community: sexual orientation, gender identity, and equal employment. Some policies might not have these keywords, which does not mean that company will be discriminatory, it just means you need to look further into the companies values and culture. Policies can be shaped by the federal and/or state government, organizations board or by the changing legal landscape.
The best way to learn about an organization's culture is to be aware of any advocating the company does on behalf of (or against) the LGBT+ community. This can be as simple as sponsoring an event such as a Pride festival, quality-focused event or donating money to charities that support the community. These are all good qualities to look for because it denotes the commitment and focus on an inclusive environment.
Equitable Benefits- Healthcare Plan
It is absolutely essential if you are in a same-sex relationship to find a company whose healthcare plan recognizes your relationship and uses verbiage that does not classify you as having fewer opportunities than your heterosexual peers. Domestic partner benefits can be found by most large employers and fortune 500 companies, however Transgender-Inclusive benefits are more controversial, and many organizations are slow to expand their benefits to include all sexual minority groups. However, some companies have been progressive in their policies such as Airbnb Inc., Amazon, Aramark and Barnes N Noble just to name a few recognizable workplaces.
You must do your research and ask questions during the hiring process if answers aren’t so clear online. Remember, you are valuable and companies need talented employees, so walk into that interview with confidence.
Next Steps: Create a Handshake account via Join Handshake to connect with top employers.
An amazing resource that helps guide your decision to work for a company is the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index HRC: 2020 Corporate Equality Index