Ways you can manage microaggression at work

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Sexual Orientation/Transgender Rights |

Microaggressions, or subtle but constant insults or invalidation, remain a persistent issue in the workplace. This, despite the significant progress that has been made for LGBTQ+ rights. If it remains, it can foster a hostile working environment. There are, however, actual steps you can take to protect your rights.

Minor acts with potential major impact

Microaggressions can be verbal or non-verbal. They are often unintentional comments or actions with negative stereotypes about a person’s sexual orientation.

For instance, comments like “that’s so gay” used to describe something negative. It could also be assumptions about your dating life or family structure, or exclusion from social events based on perceived sexual orientation.

While seemingly minor incidents, they can have a cumulative negative impact, such as causing stress and affecting job performance. Over time, they can create a hostile work environment, which can be a legal issue.

How to deal with microaggressions

No one should feel unsafe and uncomfortable at work, regardless of their sexual orientation. If you experience microaggressions, here are ways you can deal with it:

  • Identify situations where the behavior is persistent or truly offensive.
  • If comfortable, politely but firmly address the comment.
  • Keep a record of dates, times and witnesses of microaggressions.
  • Notify the management about the incidents.
  • Talk to a trusted colleague, friend or LGBTQ+ organization for support and guidance.
  • If the environment is persistently hostile, consider seeking legal counsel or exploring other job options.

Protecting your rights

The workplace should be a space of professionalism and productivity. So, do not be afraid to speak up, not just for yourself but for others as well.

FindLaw Network
Photo of Jefferson County Judicial Center