Workplace bottlenecks in the LGBTQIA+ community

dvm360 Pride Month Panel Discussion

Discussing harassment in the workplace, not only from employees, but also clients

Content sponsored by Hill's

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: So Dr. Zager, I do want to talk about workplace harassment because unfortunately, bottlenecks do happen in our industry. And it is happening to the LGBTQ+ community. So what happens if, say, there's an employee that's feeling like they're being bullied or harassed, and they kind of want to quit, but they don't know what to do? Or who to go to? What does that look like?

Erik Zager, DVM, DACVECC: I think it's important, first of all, to obviously hear them out. But having in your management structure, the ability for them to find pathways, so if it's their direct manager that they feel uncomfortable with is to make sure that every team member knows alternative paths if they need to. So whether that is HR, whether that's the hospital manager, whether that's just a doctor in the practice, or technician in the practice, or a CSR in their practice, that they feel they can come to help advocate for them, I think is important. I think it's also equally important to make sure that you don't keep around toxic members of the team. They're always in practices that that that team member that might be very, very good at the job, but is toxic to other employees. And it's not worth in the long run, keeping those people around. As far as another important thing is clients as well. So you don't want to be tolerating harassment from clients, to your employees. And I think this is a very common point of feeling bad from our employees, where they feel like the clients can walk all over them, can treat them however they want, can call them slurs and things like that with impunity, and that is absolutely not acceptable. And so having a structure in your hospital to be able to fire clients for inappropriate behavior to your team members. So if they are harassing them for any reason, because they're LGBTQ, because they're a person of color, because they're female and not male, you know, any of those reasons. You do not want to tolerate that it is not worth having that client in your hospital, and you should have a structure in place to fire them to show your own team their support.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: I know practices have like zero policy for harassment, too. They actually even haven't posted now on their own websites to clients.

Jennifer Evans: And they should. I want to just add a little something to that I think leadership should be trained on validating people's experiences. There was a there was a survey done by, where 52% of the queer community that they interviewed said that they experience gay or lesbian jokes, from their coworkers in their place of business. And that hurts people whether you know it or not, it hurts people's feelings. And for somebody to come to you and have the trust, like we were talking about earlier to be able to express that. And you're not believing them, are you brushing it off, like it's no big deal. And they didn't mean it that way that causes a lot of damage. So for your leadership to be trained on validating experiences is a huge deal. In my opinion.

Michael Lark, CVT: I'd like to just bounce off Jennifer and just say like, I feel like when someone gets a new job, they go through onboarding, training and stuff like that. I feel like maybe there should be a course on LGBTQ education. I feel like that would help. Not only the employers, but staff members, everyone there.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, yeah, that's wonderful.

Omar Farías, VMD: I think so where he's going, like, I think policies are just really important. And everybody like in a whether you work in an industry or you work in hospital, like should know, what the policies are. And I think when there's also an issue, like harassment or something else is brought up into the workplace. And, you know, there also needs to be a culture when also retaliation doesn't happen. You know, because I think ultimately individuals are, you know, regardless whether the harassment was real, the complaint was real. However, it ends up needing to be a safe environment in which you can bring your concerns on and also know that you're not going to be retaliated against.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, absolutely.

© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.