Some small businesses cannot overcome their own prejudices. Let them bend | Genetic marks

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A guy in georgia was fired from his job because he started playing in a gay softball league. Another guy in upstate New York was fired for mentioning he was gay. A trans woman who worked for a funeral home in Michigan was fired when she introduced herself as a woman. These are true stories and, yes, it still continues in 2020.

Even before the pandemic, small business owners like me worried every day about raising money, addressing customer issues, keeping up with the competition, motivating our workers, and balancing the stress of our work and of our family life. And yet, do some of those same business owners actually have time to devote to finding ways to fire an employee because of their orientation or gender identity? Wow. For me, this is amazing.

But unfortunately maybe not so amazing. In fact, as recently as 2016, a report of the Center for American Progress found that between 11% and 28% of LGBTQ workers reported losing a promotion simply because of their sexual orientation. And while some states have laws in place to prevent this sort of thing, many states do not, and this kind of discriminatory practice often occurs. But thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling, you can’t do this stuff anymore if you’re a small business, no matter where you are. If you do, then you are now breaking federal law.

“This is very important because before that there were certainly employers who thought they could just terminate someone’s employment because they were gay or transgender,” said Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. said USA Today. “So this is really an important clarification of the scope of federal law.”

Of course, this is great news for the LGBTQ community. But some fear the decision will not go far enough. It still excludes small businesses that employ less than 15 people. Which means – depending on what state you’re in – you can still fire someone if you’re below that employee level and have an issue with that person’s gender identity.

The small business exclusion was “one of the many niceties that got lost in the headlines given the importance of the decision, which is certainly a landmark,” Jon Nadler, a Philadelphia-based lawyer who represents companies in employment disputes. said Crain’s Detroit Business. “The ruling only interprets that law alone and does not interpret the US constitution or anything else.”

Regardless of the exclusion of companies with fewer than 15 employees, some opponents of the decision believe that small businesses will always suffer.

Alex Swoyer, a writer for the Washington Times, fears that the decision will end up “flooding” small businesses with new lawsuits. “The decision threatens to hit some small businesses with litigation in an area they haven’t had to deal with so far,” she said.

Swoyer says large companies are for the most part already in compliance with these anti-discrimination practices nationwide and have the resources to fight any potential claims. But small businesses, even those with more than 15 employees and especially those in 17 states with no protection at any level (which include Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi) are still at risk.

Swoyer is right. It is very possible that some small businesses could be prosecuted as a result of the ruling. Let’s hope so. Why? Because it will be a lesson. Neither in morality nor in ethics. But in business. This move doesn’t just benefit LGBTQ workers. It also benefits their employers.

Those who realize the benefits of this law will eventually stop worrying about an employee’s sexual orientation and instead pay more attention to that person’s skills and job performance. They won’t be tempted to fire someone because of ignorant prejudice and instead will be motivated to find ways to make that employee do a better job… and in turn generate more profit.

Replacing employees in a small business is disruptive and very expensive. Being obsessed with a person’s sexual orientation and then having to defend them in court is expensive, time consuming and unproductive. This decision makes it more difficult, and it is ultimately in the best interests of the business owner.

Of course, there will always be employers who do not understand, who are still living in the past and who cannot overcome their own prejudices. Like the dinosaurs of the past, they will eventually disappear, to be replaced by smarter entrepreneurs who understand that discrimination isn’t just a moral issue, it’s just bad for business.


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