Why do human resource departments sometimes fail to reduce discrimination and harassment? It might have to do with workplace climate. No matter what measures HR takes, if the culture of a company is toxic, especially in the upper ranks, it’s unlikely anything will change. How do you create a positive workplace climate? Practice authentic leadership. Authentic leaders constantly monitor the climate of their organization, align their personal values with those of the company, and hold themselves accountable for growing inclusivity. This article also suggests focusing on diversity: homogeneous teams, departments, or C-suites are bound to cause problems. And it’s not just white male homogeneity — any homogeneity in a workplace can create the kind of culture imbalance that leads to discrimination and harassment.
Women who have made it close to the top reflect on what it’s like on the last few rungs of the corporate ladder. They report sexism in its many forms– men avoiding meetings because they are fearful of flirtation, having to work twice as hard to be considered equal, words like “gravitas” that serve as code words for “not like us,” the loneliness, the golf playing, being seen as dependable but not visionary, being seen as easy prey in competitive situations, facing backlash for acting aggressively, being disproportionately penalized for stumbles, and learning from scratch how to be unapologetically competitive– to name just a few reasons those last few rungs are so hard to reach.
President Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that transgender individuals will be barred from military service. It is unclear what this would mean for the estimated 2,450 transgender individuals now serving in active duty. Supporters of the ban cite substantial costs for treatments and surgeries. The announcement disregards research indicating that the June 2016 move to lift the ban on transgender individuals serving openly has “little or no impact on military cohesion or readiness, and that costs would be negligible.”
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice filed a brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York arguing that sexual orientation is not a basis for protection from discrimination in the workplace. For twenty years the courts have determined that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects workers from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin, does not extend to sexual orientation. But in April, a court in Illinois did just that. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a distinguished and tireless civil rights activist, responded to the news, “I fought too long to end discrimination based on race and color to allow discrimination based on gender identity to be considered acceptable.”