While many states and counties have passed non-discrimination legislation for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons, the sad fact is that many have not, and even if discrimination is not legal, it still occurs, and it is hard to prove. Many companies are gay-friendly, but there are more than enough that are not. So what do you do if you are gay or lesbian and work for an employer who is a homophobe?
There are employers who will harass employees in an attempt to get them to quit. What recourse does the employee have? According to an article published by Monster.com, employees with homophobic bosses have three options: Accept the situation, change it, or leave.
Neither one is necessarily the more pleasant alternative. It is important to know your rights. There are avenues for help, there are resources out there. One resource for GLBs is Lambda Legal. But there are other forums. Employees need to take into consideration pension benefits they may have accrued, or health benefits they may be losing if they leave a job.
All in all, discrimination in any form can be subtle or overt, but it is always destructive. Federal employees are protected by an executive order signed in 1998 by President Clinton, which is still in effect under President Bush. Unfortunately, the United States Congress has yet to pass ENDA, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. The current Republican leadership does not support it.
Andrew Stone, editor at Los Angeles Confidential, bluntly warns, “Don’t compromise yourself. Your work should speak for itself. And if an employer discriminates against you and you don’t want to go the route of pressing charges, then leave your job. Life is too short to work for a jerk.”