Sexual Orientation discrimination

I am located in southern California and am a manager for a retail chain. It was brought to my attention that one employee (employee A) asked another employee (employee B) what her religious beliefs are. B said she didn't want to discuss it. A then proceeded to ask if another employ (employee C) was gay. A then said that all gays and lesbians go to hell.

I called my HR person to ask how to handle the situation. I'm to interview A, give them a final warning, reinforce our no tolerance of discrimination. Ok, great....but then my HR person asked if C exhibited any innaproriate behavior, like calling people "GirlFriend" as a greeting or complimenting people on their outfits. I was confused as I felt this was targeting C's personality and mannerisms. I was instructed to tell C they could no longer do this. I feel like I'm being asked to do something that's potentially discriminatory. Should I be worried? I refuse to mention specific behaviors and instead focus on business etiquette and professionalism.  


  • 1 Comment sorted by Votes Date Added
  • To avoid claims of discrimination and harassment, employers should enforce their policies fairly and consistently.  It is unlawful discrimination for an employer to hold an employee who is in a protected group to a higher standard than similarly situated workers.  In your example, Employee C should not be disciplined for complimenting people on their outfits unless other employees would be disciplined for the same behavior.  The assessment of whether the behavior is appropriate should not be based on the employee’s sexual orientation.  Instead, it should be based on the employer’s policy on workplace conduct.  Keeping the focus on business etiquette and professionalism is a good way to help ensure that the company’s response is based on a legitimate, nondiscriminatory business reason.

Sign In or Register to comment.