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SHRM Adopts Public Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
 

   7/21/2014
 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Board of Directors has adopted a public policy statement that supports efforts to prevent workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

President Barack Obama today signed an executive order protecting employees of federal contractors and federal workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The 275,000-member SHRM, the world’s largest association representing HR, is reviewing the executive order to determine how it will impact all of its members. SHRM supports public policy that has a specific focus in order to avoid unintended consequences for employers and employees. 

SHRM will comment on regulations to implement the executive order when they are proposed by the Department of Labor within 90 days.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Public Policy Issue Statement

SHRM is committed to encouraging fair and consistent employment practices and policies in the hiring, training, compensation, benefits, promotion, discipline, transfer and termination of workers. The Society believes that employment decisions should be made on the basis of an individual’s qualifications for a job, such as education, experience and demonstrated competencies, not on the basis of non-job-related characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

SHRM supports public policy efforts to bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Any such legislation should be narrowly drafted to avoid unintended consequences for employers and employees.

SHRM supports employers that want to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees, but opposes any legislative, regulatory or judicial requirement on employers to provide these benefits. In addition, SHRM believes that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) pre-emption standard must be maintained and strengthened, including the pre-emption of state or local efforts to require benefits coverage of an employee’s domestic partner.

Key Public Policy Principles

SHRM’s public policy position supports the following key principles:

Additional Facilities: Employers should not be required to provide new or additional facilities (such as bathrooms) as a result of legislation in this area.

Disparate Treatment: Employers should be prohibited from making employment decisions on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Disparate Impact: Sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination claims should be based on actual discrimination. Claims should not involve activities, policies or programs that in design are not discriminatory, but that may have a disparate impact on a particular group of individuals.

Domestic Partner Benefits: Employers should not be required by law to provide domestic partner benefits. Employers should be permitted to offer these benefits in the manner that they believe best meets the needs of their employees. In addition, ERISA pre-emption must be maintained and strengthened, including the pre-emption of state-mandated domestic partner laws.

Religious and Religious-Affiliated Organizations: To the extent that same-sex relationships, sexual orientation and gender identity issues may be contrary to particular religious beliefs, religious and religious-affiliated organizations should be permitted to make employment decisions on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, if the nature of the employment requires that a position or occupation be filled by an employee of a particular religion or religious belief. Such allowances are consistent with other federal civil rights statutes.

Media: For more information, please contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6260 and Kate.kennedy@shrm.org or Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and Vanessa.gray@shrm.org.

About the Society for Human Resource Management
Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.

 

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