Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Extreme Equal Opportunity

My new company has an Equal Employment Opportunity policy. It says the company:

"is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity and to compliance with the law."

Well, that's typical boilerplate bs. In English it says, "We'll be as good as the law requires us to be."

But it goes on, and they go above and beyond what's required:

"It is [company] policy to provide equal employment opportunity and to make all employment-related decisions without regard to race, ancestry, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, citizenship status, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, political affiliation, or any other legally protected status or characteristics."

Gender identity. Cool. They don't define that, which is uncool, but they do include gender identity and...


"sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation?"

That's a new one on me and I have no idea what it means. But I approve and I'm impressed.  The only HR person I met did not impress me as someone with a serious grasp of her job.  But soon I'm going to hunt down the HR people who know what they're doing and discuss this with them.

I am intrigued.


  1. The "sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity" clause is now fairly standard in larger companies. That's not to say there won't be "issues" if you decide to come out, but they won't fire you outright for it. Nor will they allow others to harrass you. That's about what it means.

  2. Discriminating against an employee because the employer believes that s/he is black is illegal race discrimination, even if the employer is wrong and the employee is really South Asian or Native American (or white). In the same way, in states that ban sexual orientation discrimination, firing an employee for being gay when the employee is really straight is still illegal. The "perceived" language in your employer's EEO policy is apparently there to clarify that your employer will follow the same logic in enforcing its own policy.


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