Discrimination Sucks

You’ve likely seen the bumper sticker that says “Mean People Suck!” Well, I’m going to

carry the bumper sticker a little further. I think people who discriminate against someone

because of their sexual orientation are mean people. To complete the syllogism – my form of

reasoning – “Discrimination Sucks!”

I was surprised to learn that there is no federal law that specifically outlaws workplace

discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the private sector. Only federal government

workers are protected from such discrimination. I find that odd. Isn’t discrimination generally

wrong? Shouldn’t it be condemned everywhere? Attempts to pass federal legislation that would

outlaw sexual orientation discrimination in private workplaces have been unsuccessful to date.

What about state law? New Hampshire has had an anti-discrimination law protecting gay,

lesbian, and bisexual individuals from discrimination since 1998. New Hampshire’s law bans

sexual orientation discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing.

The law protects people who are gay and it protects people perceived to be gay. The nondiscrimination

law defines “sexual orientation” as “having or being perceived as having an

orientation for heterosexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality.” Being perceived as gay likely

extends to a person who is fired even while they are closeted, or because they are perceived to be

gay (whether they are or not). It takes a mean person to fire such a person or discriminate against

such a person – particularly if the person being fired is capable of doing the job and, in fact, is

doing a good job.

New Hampshire law applies to employers (government based or private) who have at

least 6 employees. It forbids employers from refusing to hire a person, or discharging them, or

discriminating against them “in compensation, or in terms, conditions or privileges of

employment” because of sexual orientation. This provision covers a variety of job actions. Job

actions include hiring, firing, failing to promote, demotion, excessive discipline, harassment and

different treatment of the employee and similarly-situated co-workers.

New Hampshire’s law does not apply to an employer with fewer than 6 employees. The

law is not applicable to an employer which is a non-profit social club or a fraternal or religious

association or corporation. New Hampshire’s definition of “employer” includes non-profit

educational and charitable institutions. I guess mean people should gravitate to smaller

companies.

Sexual harassment is prohibited by New Hampshire law. This includes unwelcome

sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a

sexual nature. These acts constitute sexual harassment when submission to such conduct is made

either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment; when

submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment

decisions affecting such individual; or when such conduct has the purpose or effect of

unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating,

hostile, or offensive working environment. Sounds like bullying to me.

Sexual harassment is bullying’s cousin. The results of sexual harassment are as

devastating as any form of bullying. Workplace discrimination of this sort is especially

troublesome. One would think we all have the right to make a living. We should all have that

right because we all – generally speaking – need to make a living.

Everyone has dreams. These dreams are not dependent on sexual orientation. All of us

have pride. This pride is not dependent on sexual orientation. We all believe in fair play. Fair

play is not dependent on sexual orientation.

Anyone who purposely degrades another human being is mean in my book. Any person

who discriminates against another human being just because they don’t like that person’s sexual

orientation is particularly mean in my book.

 

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