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How to create an inclusive LGBTQ+ work environment

New York has often been known for welcoming minorities with open arms, whether they are people of color, immigrants or a part of the LGBTQ community. However, there are some federal laws that the state often has no choice but to enforce.

Early this year, CNN updated its thorough timeline of events related to the LGBTQ community, starting from 1924. Toward the end, it highlights the struggles transgenders have faced regarding their ability to serve in the military. However, discrimination at work does not stop here for the LGBTQ community.

The good news is employers need not enforce this type of discrimination at their own businesses. So, here are some of the ways that employers can help to create a more inclusive work environment for LGBTQ workers.

Use company policy

According to Forbes, the policies an organization puts in place can have a direct impact on employees' attitudes towards the LGBTQ community at work. LGBTQ-related company policies may include not just regulations prohibiting discriminatory behaviors, but also more equalizing actions, such as providing health benefits for same-sex partners.

Enforce the rules

Work policies do not add up to much if they are not enforced. How management handles discrimination cases in-house helps to determine how employees handle those same instances going forward. If there are clear repercussions, even the most homophobic employees might understand and accept that this is not acceptable at work.

Train employees

Employees further appreciate the importance of company policies when they are worked into training modules. There is no need to single out LGBTQ issues as the one trainable company policy topic. Instead, include it alongside other important issues, such as how to handle customers entering the premises with service animals or what to do if workers experience or witness sexual harassment on the job.

Forbes estimates that 46 percent of LGBTQ employees are still in the closet at work. One of the primary reasons put forward for this is fear of discrimination. For many Americans across the country, there are no protections in place for this kind of discrimination because sexual orientation is not a protected class. Thankfully, there are states like New York that appreciate the need to write that protection into law.

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