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Employment Non-Discrimination Overview

Why an LGBTQ-Inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Policy?

A healthcare organization’s LGBTQ employees play a vital role in ensuring LGBTQ patient-centered care by informally educating their co-workers about patient concerns, offering feedback about organizational policies and practices, and conveying the organization’s commitment to LGBTQ equity and inclusion to the local community. 

An employment non-discrimination policy that explicitly bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity ensures equal treatment for LGBTQ employees and also sends a welcoming message to LGBTQ job applicants, helping the organization retain and recruit a diverse, talented staff. 

Including the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” in an employment non-discrimination policy underscores an employer’s dedication to workplace equity. It is becoming commonplace for employers’ non-discrimination statements to include the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression.” For example, a majority of the country’s Fortune 500 employers have explicit, LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policies. In some cases, inclusion of these terms reflects state law, indicating that the organization is aware of and committed to legal requirements of non-discrimination. 

In areas without a state law prohibiting LGBTQ discrimination, adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to a non-discrimination policy affirms an employer’s commitment to workplace equity and inclusion. Explicit statements that healthcare organizations are committed to LGBTQ non-discrimination can create a positive workplace environment and are deeply appreciated by LGBTQ members of the community.

The Joint Commission Recommendations 

The Joint Commission’s LGBT Field Guide explicitly notes that a hospital can only provide welcoming and competent care through a workforce that is prepared to do so. The first step in delivering LGBTQ patient-centered care is to take steps to provide equitable treatment and inclusion for its LGBTQ employees by having an employee non-discrimination policy that includes both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression.”

To receive credit in the HEI:

  • An organization must document that the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” are included in the facility’s employment non-discrimination policy. 
  • This policy must be communicated to prospective and current employees in at least one of the following ways: 
    • Posted on employment page of website
    • Posted on job announcements
    • Posted on job applications/job application system
    • Posted in employment brochure

A facility must clearly post a non-discrimination statement that includes protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Statements such as “XYZ Hospital is an Equal Opportunity Employer” do not count for credit because federal equal opportunity employment laws do not include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

View Employment Non-Discrimination Resources