Some gay rights advocates are calling for “A Day Without a Gay” protest and boycott across the United States on Wednesday, December 10, to show opposition to California’s Proposition 8 and to show the power of the gay and lesbian community. Organizers are encouraging people to strike by “calling in gay” to work, taking the day off, or shutting down their business. Instead of working, they’re urging supporters to spend the day participating in volunteer activities. They’re also encouraging people not to buy anything or spend any money.
So what should you do if employees “call in gay” tomorrow? Can you tell them they’re fired if they don’t show up? You should think twice before doing that. Remember that many state laws, including California’s, prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or their association with a homosexual person. Thus, you need to treat employees who call in gay the same as all other employees. If you decide to enforce your attendance policy, make sure you do so in a fair and consistent manner, regardless of the employee’s sexual orientation (or other protected status).