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Pope Francis says 'gays shouldn't be marginalised' - Do you know what the EEA says about discrimination based on sexual orientation?

by , 01 August 2013
Pope Francis has said gay people should not be marginalised but integrated into society. The Argentine made the remarks in a wide ranging conversation with journalists on the plane bringing him back from a week-long visit to Brazil on Sunday night. While Pope Francis reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church's teaching that homosexual acts are a sin, the 76-year-old's utterances have been lauded as some of the most conciliatory remarks by a pontiff on the issue of homosexuality. Don't be too quick to dismiss this as just another church issue because the Employment Equity Act requires you to eliminate discrimination in your workplace. Here's what the EEA says about unfair discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The EEA 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.

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

'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,' says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

Is there a way to prevent discrimination in your business?

Here's how you can curb discrimination in your workplace

According to FSPBusiness, the easiest way to prevent discrimination in the workplace is to make sure you've clearly explained the behaviours that count as discrimination in your company's code of conduct.

The next step is to ensure your employees know the contents of your code of conduct so they'll understand the professional standards of behaviour you expect from them.

Curbing discrimination also means you must handle a claim of unfair discrimination in the workplace correctly to avoid a fine from the Department of Labour (DoL) and ending up in the Equality Court, says FSPBusiness.

If you do- receive a claim of unfair discrimination in the workplace, remember to file it along with a record of any actions taken in case of an inspection from the DoL, advises Rachel Paterson in the Labour Bulletin.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation should have no place in your business. Make sure you stop it in its tracks to comply with the EEA.

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