Georgia State prides itself on being one of the most diverse universities in the United States. University Career Service has the privilege of working with students from various backgrounds and is committed to creating a safe and open space for all its students, including those who identify as LGBTQ+. While it is common for students to have questions when searching for a job or starting at a new place of work or internship site, LGBTQ+ students may face unique questions.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation created a national tool on corporate policies and practices and benefits that are pertinent to LGBTQ+ employees called the “Corporate Equality Index.” This tool can be used to find companies that have taken steps to ensure equity for LGBTQ+ employees and their families.
Another way to find LGBTQ+ inclusive companies is to look at an employer’s non-discrimination policy, find out if the company has LGBTQ+ networks or affinity groups, and look at the company’s benefits.
First, you do not have to disclose your sexual orientation or gender identity at work if you do not want to or do not feel safe doing so.
Here are some things to consider when trying to determine if your workplace is safe or not:
- What sort of relationship do you have with your coworkers and supervisors?
- What attitudes toward diversity are present in your workplace?
- What words would you use to describe your work environment (i.e. positive, negative, affirming, tension)?
- Does your place of employment have any policies in place that relate to discrimination or harassment?
- Do you feel worried about your safety?
There are generally three different opportunities to “come out” to an employer:
- On your resume (i.e. Social Media Chair of Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity Organization)
- In an interview
- After you start working for the organization
“Georgia does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression […] However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.”
Unfortunately, you will need to provide your legal name for legal documentation, such as social security documentation, background checks, and insurance forms, unless you have already made legal arrangements to change your name. However, most companies will allow you to use a preferred name for any other contact information, such as email. Resumes and cover letters are not legal documents, so you can use your preferred name if you wish. To address the difference in names on these documents, you can include your first initial (i.e. if your legal name is Pam Jenkins and your preferred name is Matthew, you can put “P. Matthew Jenkins.”) HR is bound to confidentiality, so they can be a helpful resource with questions related to this.