Hidden Discrimination Against LGBTIQ in Employment: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How

Post 8 by Zhengzhi Chen

Inspired by an infographic about LGBT2S employment in my Post 3 and the location map for the controversy between LGBTIQ right advocates and those who think only heterosexuals are normal in my Post 7, I decided to brainstorm on the issue of hidden discrimination against LGBTIQ in employment. The questions that I asked myself were who, what, when, where, why and how.

Who are Involved in the Issue?

  • LGBTIQ who are seeking for jobs, especially the ones who get rejected after their interviews;
  • LGBTIQ employees;
  • LGBTIQ who are fired from their jobs;
  • Businesses that are hiring;
  • The HR in these businesses;
  • The LGBTIQ employees in these businesses;
  • The clients of these businesses;
  • LGBTIQ’s co-workers;
  • Charity groups that help the unemployed LGBTIQ;
  • Lawyers;
  • Media;
  • Strangers on the Internet who might be triggered by the ridiculousness of the issue.

What is the Issue?

  • HR of a business turn down a possible LGBTIQ employee. The HR might not tell the possible employee why s/he got rejected, or might just say that it is due to his/her lack of skills. ‘You do not fit in the culture of our business’ is another excuse the HR might use to cover the true reason behind the rejection – the discrimination against LGBTIQ.
  • HR of a company fire an LGBTIQ employee after finding out about his/her LGBTIQ identity. The excuses mentioned in the first scenario will definitely be used in this situation: ‘We are disappointed in your performance in this company for the past two months and the financial cost you have caused for this company.’
  • An LGBTIQ employee who was sent to deal with a client is suddenly switched and a straight employee takes his/her job, because the client is a conservative person or has issues with LGBTIQ.

What will Happen when the Issue is Fixed?

  • The true quality will be realised.
  • Some conservative clients might get upset and leave the company.
  • Charity groups aimed to solve this issue will disappear or move on to solve other issues.
  • An increase in the number of LGBTIQ employees will relatively raise the respect of the society for LGBTIQ, making people realise that LGBTIQ is nothing but a label about a person’s gender identity or sexuality, which has nothing to do with their personality, talents or competence of working. It might also contribute to the decline in the amount of verbal and physical violence against LGBTIQ.
  • LGBTIQ job seekers will not be insecure because of their gender identity or sexuality.

What will Happen when the Issue is not Solved?

  • It will be difficult for LGBTIQ victims in this situation to seek legal help because of the lack of evidence, because there is no objective judgement or assessment on the reason why a business turns down a job seeker after an interview.
  • The unemployment of some talented LGBTIQ will cause waste of talent, which sometimes will be a loss for the society, even the human kind.
  • The increase in unemployment will (slightly) increase the burden of the government to feed unemployed LGBTIQ, and unemployment causes social problems.

When does the Issue Occur?

  • When businesses are hiring;
  • When graduates are faced with the challenge of employment;
  • When either the employers or the clients of the companies are LGBTIQ-phobic;
  • When a lawyer fails to save his/her LGBTIQ client from the unfair treatment given by the company or the society.

Where does the Issue Occur?

  • In the HR offices where decisions are made;
  • In businesses with conservative clients;
  • In the places where Donal Trump can get away with his LGBTIQ-phobic views;
  • In religious communities.

Why does the Issue Occur?

  • Because the law can not solve all the unfairness in the world;
  • Because the company is pressured by some conservative clients;
  • Because it is still a world where the voice of the majority counts and LGBTIQ are a minority;
  • Because some people rather believe a book that was written a long time ago than educate themselves with truth, reality and science;
  • Because businesses survive on money and benefits not fairness or love;
  • Because of the lack of knowledge of LGBTIQ;
  • Because the hiring/interviewing process is private and all due to the employers’ judgement.

Issue Statement

When businesses are hiring new employees, they might turn down LGBTIQ job seekers due to the business owners’ personal points of view or extreme religious belief or their concern with their conservative clients. However, under the pressure of the law or regulations that forbid businesses from rejecting or firing employees because of their gender identity or sexuality, they claim the reason of their rejection to be the job seekers’ lack of competence in the jobs or the noticeable difference between the job seekers’ personalities and the culture of the businesses. The dearth of credible evidence in this kind of situations because of the lack of transparency in the hiring process makes it difficult for LGBTIQ job seekers to seek legal help.

How could this Issue be Solved?

  • Conduct a series of experiments to compare the results of the interviews of the same people pretending to have two different gender identities or sexual orientations by the same companies and document the experiments to show the social prejudice.
  • Promote a symbol that can be adopted by companies to imply their LGBTIQ-friendliness and that can also be marked on CVs to create a secret language between LGBTIQ and LGBTIQ-firendly companies.
  • Create a mobile phone app via which LGBTIQ can look up if a company is LGBTIQ-friendly and on which LGBTIQ-phobic companies are exposed.
  • Design a video-sharing platform where LGBTIQ can upload their interviews after which they do not get the jobs to let other professionals or employers in the same industry to judge whether the rejection is based on their competence or their sexuality.
  • Create a data visualisation of the comparison of the benefits brought to their companies or the contribution to the society made by people with different sexual orientations and different gender identities from the same industry.

Design Proposal Draft

Among the five possible design solutions listed above, the most effective one to justify LGBTIQ and education the population is the data visualisation project of the financial achievements and the social contribution of the people from the same industry but with different gender identities or different orientations. One way of scraping data for this project is to explore Forbes lists. Either a series of infographics or a motion graphic video can be an effective format to showcase the results of the research.