In 2014, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich became the target of an online crusade, and consequently stepped down as a CEO from the very own company he co-founded. Reason: A contribution he made over ago six years ago to legally support banning of gay marriage.
One of the major problems faced in workplaces is the involvement of personal or political beliefs that threaten the livelihood of individuals. On a sad note, social or political views have little to do with business performance and much to do with the culture of an ideal workplace. We often ‘hear’ about cases where discrimination against an employee’s sexual orientation leads to something dreadful.
Even companies on the “best places to work” list have employees who do not feel safe coming out. It is either homophobic management, or colleagues or fear of something else that keeps them from embracing and feeling confident about their own selves. You would say it can’t be that easy to judge if people at workplace are open to diversity from all angles.
Treating employees with fairness regardless of what their sexual orientation or beliefs can boost the soul of a cheerful workplace environment. However, it’s often not that easy to create a supportive environment with nondiscrimination policies in organizations.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently wrote a highly opinionated piece in the Wall Street Journal calling out the government for not being progressive and urging senators to support Employment Nondiscrimination Act. The Employment Nondiscrimination Act bill will require employment laws to protect workers against the discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, Tim Cook is now looking to promote gay rights in socially conservative Southern US!
It can be homophobic or racist jokes that give a glimpse of the consequences of coming out for some individuals or sharing their beliefs that stops them from doing so. A challenge an HR often find themselves stuck on a slippery slope, constantly finding ways to endorse freedom of views within an organization. How can they stop employees stop from discriminating someone over their personal beliefs or choices?
One of the best tools an HR can use is to break down the situation, analyze it from all perspectives and see what is actually going on. It is then that they can introduce initiatives that can be implemented where employees are engaged in activities in one way or the other to get a better understanding of diversity and embracing the beauty of humans, their thoughts and their lives. A culture of openness can encourage employees to share what they believe in public, without self-editorializing it.