We are mindful of how cultural differences might affect our clients success and the ways we can best help them. Working with LGBTQ clients should be handled with the same attention and respect.
Heartland Alliance, an ORR technical assistance contractor, offers two great resources to help you develop successful strategies for providing effective services. Each include a special section on employment. Download them both here.
To learn more about how to identify and address cultural sterotypes, watch a clip from Higher’s Workplace Culture training.
Two points from the Heartland Alliance resources were especially relevant to my own experience working with LGBT clients. It would be great if others could share their experience or questions.
Documentation and Legal Names
New hire paperwork must be completed with the client’s legal name as it appears on their eligibility documentation (i.e. I-9 or EAD). No matter the client’s gender identity, a mismatch during an employment eligibility verification causes problems for clients and employers.
Although documentation issues can usually be resolved, for LGBTQ clients, this situation can also have the unintended consequence of disclosing identity issues better explained in a different way.
How to Communicate with Employers?
After heated debate, my team decided not to disclose a client’s gender identity as we were helping her apply for a job with one of our most trusted employment partner. The recommendation included in Heartland Alliance’s publication is to consider having a conversation with trusted employers to ensure they are sensitive to the participant’s transgender identity.
When the employer realized the situation (after the client got the job offer and began to work), it put a bit of stress on our relationship, but we were able to work together to modify corporate processes to make everyone comfortable in the workplace.