June is a time to celebrate many things: the beginning of summer; long, sun-filled days; and LGBT Pride Month, to name a few. For many, the events that take place during the month are a way to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals have had on history locally, nationally and internationally.
From individuals to corporations, many now proudly demonstrate support for the LGBT community. Workplaces are committed to creating and promoting inclusive workforces—ones where employees feel accepted, comfortable and valued. While the underlying theme of Pride festivals is equal rights and recognition, this has often been lost in the glitz of modern-day Pride events, or the misperception that true equality has been realized.
This year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many Pride events have been cancelled, but if they had taken place, they would have celebrated the latest U.S. Supreme Court decision to provide further protections for and recognition of LGBTQ rights. For more information on this landmark decision, please see the latest blog post from Kim Taylor, senior vice president, chief legal & operating officer at JAMS.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion is more than a policy; it must be supported and encouraged at all levels of an organization. I know this from the research that I have conducted over the past four years. I am in the final stages of obtaining my Ph.D., and I have been studying the disclosure of gay identity in the workplace. I learned that both disclosure and nondisclosure have an impact. While this might seem contradictory, it supports the idea that it will take further research, education and understanding, as well as the removal of bias, for equality to truly be realized. This is obviously something that will not be achieved in isolation, or by one Supreme Court decision, although this fantastic milestone should be celebrated!
I, like many others, am encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision; however, I am also aware that these protections for LGBTQ individuals may be challenged. As a dispute resolution organization, JAMS will likely see an increase in the number of workplace discrimination matters it handles. Our neutrals are well equipped to manage and resolve these disputes.
I am fortunate to work for an organization that truly embraces the uniqueness of its employees and supports, encourages and promotes diversity and inclusion across all parts of the business. In my experience and from my research, these types of policies are essential in ensuring that the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce are truly realized.