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Do you know what sexual orientation discrimination is? Make sure you do, or else!

by , 12 March 2014
Discrimination in the workplace comes in different forms. That's why you need to be well informed on how to deal with it. Read on to find out what sexual orientation discrimination is and how to tackle it.

What you need to know about sexual orientation discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination or discrimination based on sexual orientation includes being treated differently or harassed because of your real or perceived sexual orientation whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual, says Nolo.com.

You read that right. Sexual orientation discrimination doesn't only affect homosexual people; it also applies to heterosexual individuals.

You need to have a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to discrimination based on sexual orientation

'You must strictly prohibit treating an individual unfairly based on sexual orientation or gender identity as well as prohibit slurs and stereotypes intended to cause a hostile work environment,' says Xpert HR.

The site adds that you must also train your employees and supervisors on sexual orientation and gender identity issues as this will help you raise awareness and increase tolerance.

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Do South African laws say anything about discrimination based on sexual orientation?

Yes, they do.

Experts at FSP Business explain that the Employment Equity Act (EE Act) says you can't unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against your employee based on his sexual orientation.

This means you're not allowed to discriminate against your employee because she's a lesbian female, homosexual male or heterosexual male or female.

Note: The definition includes transvestites and transsexuals (persons who have undergone surgery to change their gender).

The experts stress that this prohibition against discrimination goes both ways. 'It's as unfair for homosexuals to discriminate against heterosexuals because they're not gay, as it is for a heterosexual to discriminate against someone who is gay.'

Also bear in mind that the South African Constitution also prohibits discrimination based on ones sexual orientation.

The bottom line is that sexual orientation discrimination or discrimination based on sexual orientation is unlawful. The courts don't tolerate it and neither should you!.

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