LGBTQ+ workers have the same workplace rights that other groups have thanks to recent rulings by the Supreme Court.

If you’ve an LGBTQ+ community member that is being victimized or discriminated against at work you don’t have to suffer in silence. You have a Federal legal right to file a complaint against your employer for discrimination. The Supreme Court has expanded the original protections for workers in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act so that LGBTQ+ people are also now covered under those protections. That means that it’s a violation of Federal law for your employer to discriminate against you.

If you’ve been experiencing discrimination or harassment at work because you are LGBTQ+ you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC is a Federal agency that operates in every state. The EEOC has an agreement to share information with 44 states as well. That means if you live in one of those 44 states and you file a complaint against an employer the labor authorities in your state will receive a copy of that complaint. They will use that complaint to start a state investigation of your employer.

Examples Of Workplace Discrimination

A few of the many ways that LGBTQ+ are discriminated against in the workplace include:

Targeted Bullying or Harassment

Bullying and harassment are the most common types of discrimination that people face at work. And while your coworkers or bosses might tell you that you’re being too sensitive or overreacting to their “jokes” you are absolutely not. They are behaving illegally. You do not have to put up with any kind of mistreatment at work. Try to get evidence of any bullying or harassment that you experience like screenshots of chats or instant messages, copies of emails, photos of texts and so on. They will make your case against your employer stronger.

Not Getting Raises Or Promotions

If you are not getting regular raises or if you are being denied the opportunity to promote that is discrimination. You must get the same raises as others and be given the chance to promote if others with similar backgrounds are given those things.

Dress Code Restrictions

Your workplace may not reinforce gender stereotypes through a dress code. That means that they can’t require women to only wear skirts or require women to wear makeup. They also can’t dictate how you may cut your hair. Dress code restrictions based on gender are discrimination.

Filing A Workplace Discrimination Claim

Before you file a claim with the EEOC it’s always a good idea to meet with your boss and your HR rep. They might not know what you’ve been experiencing at work. When you meet with them bring a list of all the times you’ve been discriminated against and copies of any evidence or documentation that you have. If your boss and the HR rep don’t say that they support you and will immediately take action to stop the discrimination then go to the EEOC’s website where you can file a complaint.

In Arizona, you can file a discrimination complaint with the Arizona Department of Economic Security. When you file a discrimination complaint on the state level in Arizona, it will be dual filed with the EEOC, that way you don’t have to file two complaints.

Remedies For Harassment And Discrimination

Employees who are victims of discrimination by an employer may receive big financial awards. You could receive money for pain and suffering or money for last wages if you were denied promotions or raises.

Useful Resources

Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein

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Gilles Toucas

Michael Feinstein will commemorate Judy Garland’s life on March 20 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

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I think it’s fair to say we all want that #fitlife, especially with Spring around the corner — as well as Gaypril on the way. Whether it’s pool season yet or not, everyone would choose to look fit over not looking fit, if they could have it with a snap of their fingers. OK, the vast majority of us would.

If you’ve met me, or have been reading my articles, you know that I live, sleep, eat and breathe fitness; it’s my heart and soul. That being said, I’m here to tell you that the concept of “fitness” is oftentimes tragically misunderstood.

Before you get too aggressive with your goal for pool season, let’s dive a bit deeper into what fitness means on the inside versus what it looks like on the outside, and common misconceptions around this concept.

1. Beware of the cultural pitfalls and misleading information around fitness.

Most of the bodies you see in the media are probably not real, they just look very convincing. As a trainer who also moonlights as a photographer and Photoshop wizard, I’m telling you that it is incredibly easy to alter pictures in materially misleading ways. Once you know the tricks of the trade, the imposters are easily spotted. But that’s not what this is about.

The point is: to the untrained eye, it can be devastatingly defeating to see such impossible standards. It seems as though the cultural pressure to look a certain way, to look perfect, has spread all the way from runway models to fitness novices with the help of smartphone apps.

The truth is that we fitness models look that cut, and that lean for only a couple days at a time. That’s it! In many cases, months or even close to a year of training, dieting and programming all go into looking like that for ONE day. Let that sink in for a second. Day to day, I am less cut, less tan and much flatter muscularly than what you see in some of my pictures. That’s just the nature of the beast. So, when you have a bad day on the scale, in the mirror or in any other scenario, remember that we’re all human and that the most legitimate photos you’re comparing yourself against were from someone’s very best day. That should help to keep things in perspective.

2. Most people want the results, without actually doing the work.

Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life. Further, fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else.

Fitness is confidence, toughness, dedication, coordination, power, balance, speed, strength (both literally and figuratively) and persistence in the face of all obstacles. This includes control over your attitude, your mood, your sleep, your schedule, your diet and other aspects of your life. This means getting that workout in when you least feel like it.

It’s not easy, and it’s definitely a grind that has good and bad days. You must show up and keep working on the days you’re tired, stressed, rushed, defeated, doubtful, afraid and so on. The days you actually have to overcome something instead of just checking your workout off your to-do list are the days you have the greatest opportunity to really make progress, push your body and see the most improvement.

3. Fitness is really an internal mindset. The external physique is the fringe benefit.

I’ve said this time and time again, and it might sound strange coming from such an aesthetic-focused trainer, but you are not your body. Your body is a tool, it’s a means to an end, to express your internal mindset, belief system, discipline and dedication to your workout program. Your physique will come and go. Your strength will come and go. Your abilities will wax and wane depending on what you’re training for at the time.

The outside will, and should, be always changing, but the inside is what we’re really after here. Good trainers want to train you to believe in yourself when sh*t gets hard. We want to train you to be resilient in the face of injury, obstacles and other setbacks. We want you to set ambitious goals and shoot for the moon because you can get there with smart programming and relentless will (do yourself a favor and ditch the crash diets and the photo editing software).

So, as you make your spring preparations for swimsuit season, try focusing on developing a sterling, unshakeable internal character and the muscles will come along the way, this I promise you.

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