Despite a lot of mystery about the behind-the-scenes wrangling on President Obama’s intent to protect the LGBT community in federal workplaces, the debates will probably go on about how effective those protections are going to be. With a more comprehensive bill probably not forthcoming because of conservative opposition, you still have 29 states that don’t have to conform to protecting those of a different sexual orientation in workplaces. In government jobs, there may be employers who are so opposed that they’ll still find ways to discriminate without being punished for it.
Yes, when it comes to discrimination in the workplace, it’s still everywhere in many different forms if you’ve looked for a job in the last decade. What areas of discrimination are still out there to day, and how do employers keep getting away with it? While there may be a better fight in preventing the LGBT community from being openly discriminated against, what insidious things should they look out for that some employers use to avoid hiring someone?
Age discrimination may be one of the most insidious methods to hiring in the United States, despite federal laws protecting people against such things. But if you have an older relative who tried to look for a job, chances are they’ve had trouble being hired right away. That’s because the stigma still exists that if you’re over 50, you’re probably too old to do anything right. And while experience still counts, an employer is obviously going to pick someone younger with just enough experience to prevent any need for extensive training.
I’ve seen evidence of age discrimination in my own family who looked for work in the last half of their lives. While it might have been worse a couple of decades ago, one of the most insidious methods to discriminating in the hiring process is providing an interview and giving hints they’ll hire the older person, then hire the younger instead. This doesn’t give any blame on the employer who provided a friendly interview without even mentioning age.
In the case of letting someone go due to age, the offering of a retirement package to a senior employee is still the backhanded way to scoot someone older out of the workplace. The problem with many of those is that retirement packages are sometimes temporary and don’t provide enough income past a certain time frame. Many who get temporary retirement packages have to go back to work for a few years until they turn 65 and can receive Social Security or other retirement investments.
This is something I’ve also seen through family and acquaintances when a woman applies for a job normally associated with men. When it comes to males in longtime professions, there seems to be a clandestine club-like feel to many of those institutions to keep a status quo. We’re seeing it in the movie industry now, plus likely many other industries untold. It may seem ridiculous that men can’t handle a woman working in their male-dominated environment, though we know it isn’t that way everywhere.
In today’s age of looking for a job, though, any male-dominated company that’s been around for 50 to 100 years may be better off being skipped in favor of companies with more gender diversity. In a female-dominated company, it might be the same way, though I’ve seen them more apt to hire men as long as the male doesn’t display the worst male stereotypes during the interview process.
With the ever-widening divide between those on the left who support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and those on the right who don’t, the discrimination battles could be much more troublesome. Now that there’s federal protection, will some conservative employers risk fines and other legal troubles just because they can’t support LGBT employees in their workplace?
People like this will usually find some other methods to discriminate without doing anything offensive outright. It could mean an excuse of firing LGBT employees based on financial projections and having to let certain employees go. Most likely those companies will include others to make it look like a wide variety of people were affected. You also have the method of managers keeping so much of a distance from LGBT employees that the employee simply leaves to avoid the torture in lack of communication.
During the hiring process, there may be some employers who make assumptions about someone’s sexual preference without knowing for sure. You may find others who put up references about their religious values around their office as indication they’d be most apt to subtly discriminate, even if not all do.
Trying to work around all of this is only going to get worse in the LGBT category as the issue continues to divide people. The best way to avoid possible legal problems is to do your homework in advance on finding workplaces where you know discrimination is less likely to occur. You can learn a lot about an employer through just one interview, perhaps more than what they learn about you.