Table of Contents
Today so many different aspects, issues and perceptions now effect the workplace environment. This creates challenges for companies and managers to comply to numerous regulations implemented by the government as well as keep a healthy, positive and sane setting for their employees. Employers not only need to adhere to the current laws they also need to be sensitive to the different employees in an organization regarding gender identity and expression ad sexual orientation. The sexual orientations of individuals tend to create a certain exterior which is unique to every employee.
It is natural for a person to treat another one differently because of their deep-rooted core values. For instance, different individuals coming from diverse backgrounds have their special beliefs and practices which they acquired from their cultures. There are cultures which advocate for a strong belief in Christianity while others support atheism. Other cultures tend to degrade or support people due to their racial and ethnical background. All these factors play a crucial role in the workplace environment. This paper will look at the issues affecting workplace relations and take a greater focus on gender and sexual issues.
There are countless issues which must be taken into consideration when dealing with individuals from diverse backgrounds in the workplace. These issues might affect the productivity of the organization and even bring about catastrophic outcomes if they are not handled with competence and sensitivity. If employers take an enlightened approach to these diversities, they could work to the advantage of the employers by allowing and incorporating equality and fair treatment to the policies of the organizations.
The issues that could bring about pressure in the workplace include race, age, gender and sexual orientation. It is easy for people to discriminate one another based on the factors mentioned above in the workplace. The simple fact can justify the reason behind their actions that people are people. It is impossible to leave out all personal information, feelings, and attitudes at home no matter how professional one may be in their line of work. However, this should not be a reason to continuously oppress others at work or impose oneself on the junior staff (Taylor, Burke, Wheatley & Sompayrac, 2011).
Race stands to be one of the most common reasons behind workplace discrimination due to the history experienced by the different nations. The history creates certain stereotypes in the society which people carry with them as they grow and develop. For instance, African-American individuals might be viewed as illiterate and incompetent due to their background and the cultures of their people. Age might also be a source of discrimination as the elderly might feel more privileged due to their superiority in age. Sexual orientation is another common source of discrimination mostly due to the factors that stem from religious beliefs. Sexual orientation might also be likened to gender as both involve the quality of being male or female. In most places, males tend to feel more superior due to societal inclinations and predispositions (Lloren & Parini, 2017).
The sexual orientation of a person is the gender in which an individual is attracted to in terms of love and emotion. There are various sexual orientations which stand out in every workplace environment. There are heterosexual individuals who are to be attracted to the opposite sex. Homosexual individuals who gravitate to find love and happiness in people of the same sex. The final chief category is the bisexual individuals who are attracted to members of the same and different sex. Research indicates that people who fall into the heterosexual category are considered to be normal and conventional according to the trends of general workplaces (Lloren & Parini, 2017).
Homosexuals individuals, on the other hand, endured a difficult task of being accepted in the community as the relationship is not viewed as conventional or correct. Members of the gay and lesbian community struggle to get recognition and approval from the society in general. However, there have been numerous movements and organizations that have taken to the streets and supported same-sex marriages. This is particularly evident in the same-sex marriages act that was passed and approved by the Congress during the Obama era. The same-sex marriage law has helped many individuals find their place in the society and become brave about their ideologies and beliefs. The newly found openness of these different sexual orientation has given these individuals a stance to become their selves in the workplace. Also, the law has also helped bisexual individuals by giving them the opportunity to act in their natural ways rather than hiding or shielding their practices.
Gender expression refers to a way in which a person expresses their gender identity, typically through their appearance, dress and behavior. For example, a female who considers herself as a tomboy and prefers to wear more masculine clothing. Gender expression covers a large spectrum of matters that affect the behavioral patterns of a person in their habitat. Workplaces should be free from discrimination and biases which are rooted in the way different genders express themselves.
It is evident from Ciarán McFadden’s research on gender influences in the workplace, that people rarely express themselves at their places of work due to the fear of rejection. Research indicates that a large fraction of the people at work will conceal their true character because of the conventional and stereotypical behavioral patterns set by the community. Individuals will shy away from being free in terms of expression because they will not want to reveal they’re true characters (Taylor, Burke, Wheatley & Sompayrac, 2011).
For instance, Ciarán McFadden’s research indicated that organizations that are heterosexual in nature tend to have low job satisfaction compared to companies that are open to all types of sexual orientation. It is evident that job satisfaction is one of the most crucial determiners of the overall productivity of a firm. Low job satisfaction tends to lead to low morale and time wastage in the workplace. Ciarán McFadden’s researchers advocate for free and open expression in job places to realize maximum output in every employee and managers.
Gender identity has been one of the hot issues that has attracted much debate in the United States (Dietert, & Dentice, 2009). Gender identity looks at how people perceive their gender and focuses on the reasons as to why some individuals might consider themselves to have a different gender compared to the one that they had at birth. There have been numerous individuals who have gone ahead and changed their gender due to certain influences experienced as they develop. The influences include cultural background, music, education religion and, in some cases, politics. Religion stands out to be one of the most powerful influences on gender identification and perception (Dietert, & Dentice, 2009).
Many people who decide to change their gender along the journey of their development are courageous and bold. These individuals do not fear the reception of the masses and whether or not their names get tainted by the public. However, such individuals usually face a significant level of stigma and discrimination in workplaces as depicted in Ciarán McFadden’s research. The teachings received in schools do not provide much emphasis on such sensitive subjects. However, research shows that gender identity can be a powerful tool in guiding future generations on matters concerning workplace relations and the general acceptance to the society (Dietert, & Dentice, 2009).
Seeing as to the fact how gender and sexual issues have gained momentum over the past decade, the government has stepped in to help assist with matters regarding gender identification and expression. Setting up different bathrooms for unique individuals has been one of the steps taken by the government to help solve the stigma surrounding gender identity. There are only some few states in the US that have taken the bold steps in setting up laws that emphasize the need to have three unique bathrooms for members of all sexual orientations
The state of California includes one of leading regions in the propagation of free and open sexual identification. A law was passed on the need to have different bathrooms to support the three unique gender identity categories. The law specifically states that a single stall public restroom needs display a sign approving all genders to use that restroom. The issue has raised much debate by changing the conventional perception of modern work relations. Managers have been forced to adjust to the new changes by how they relate and communicate with their employees.
The transition also calls for a higher level of cooperation with the staff as people tend to act differently in unique situations. For the transgender individual having a solution to the bathroom relieves a lot of the stress they may endure in the workplace because the transsexual person usually wants their “difference” to others of their new sex to be ignored; they want to be accepted as the same. This would suggest that a dissolving of differences approach might be appropriate, so that they can be viewed within the organisation not primarily as a transsexual person, but as simply another individual with particular skills and abilities (Barclay, & Scott, 2006).
Management Challenges (Dealing with workplace discrimination)
The task of employing new worker usually falls on the Human Resource Department. However, the department can only act after carefully interacting with other departments in which gaps need to be filled (Taylor, Burke, Wheatley & Sompayrac, 2011). Thus, this brings up the question of how supervisors should state the minimum job requirements when seeking to fill a job vacancy in their department. The best approach is to report the level of qualification that is high school, college or university. The level of skill should be accompanied by a rough estimate of the level of experience. The age, gender, and race should not pop up anywhere in the request. The best-qualified individual should secure the position that is vacant depending on how well they met the qualifications and experience (Taylor, Burke, Wheatley & Sompayrac, 2011).
There is no standard way to address male workers when a female employee is about to join a particular department. However, it is important to reiterate and stress on the fact that equal treatment is necessary for there to be unity and equality in the unit. Male workers should not feel superior or more privileged than other employees in the organization regardless of the time sent to the firm (Taylor, Burke, Wheatley & Sompayrac, 2011). Female employees should also understand that they have a vital role in assimilating their counterpart into the department. There is no need to issue threats to the workers in the office as that will only create a tension-filled environment which would pull the group back rather than encourage progress. Another critical thing to mention would be a quick reference to the company policy about fair treatment to all employees regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, and race.
Managers face the undaunting challenge of keeping their workforce happy while addressing these diversities head on and how they should be handled. One reasonable option would be to conduct continuous sensitivity training. Not only does this help employees by giving them some guidelines on handling diverse co-workers but it also makes them aware that there are numerous diversities among them at the workplace.
It is apparent that the issue of gender and sexual orientation has been a key factor affecting workplace relations over time. The influences derived from religion, education and cultural practices have a lasting impression on peoples’ expression and views about sex and gender issues. The society leaves a mark on every person and that influences how people perceive themselves and the community. That is why some individuals decide to change their gender at certain stages of their lives while others overrule the traditions and cultural norms. Managers face an uphill task of determining and influencing the workplace relations. The dynamism of the society in shifting the traditional norms has influenced how people behave and react to various situations.
The government has assisted in shaping the society and addressing issues concerning workplace relations based on gender and sexual issues. Setting up different bathrooms for unique individuals has been one of the steps taken by the government to help solve the stigma surrounding gender identity. Such bold steps will help people to express themselves in a free manner and that will help the society move in a positive direction. It is crucial to comprehend that gender identity can be a powerful tool in guiding future generations on matters concerning workplace relations and the general acceptance to the society.