Last month North Carolina's legislature passed the controversial Public Facilities Privacy and Securities Act, requiring transgender people (and everyone else) to use public restrooms according to their biological sex at birth. It also bars local governments from passing ordinances that are focused on protecting the rights of the LGBT population.

Public outrage is clear, with more than a dozen major companies publicly opposing the law, including Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google and Salesforce. Many big names in the entertainment industry, like Lionsgate and 21st Century Fox, are considering a boycott of production and performance in North Carolina.

While there have been many negative reactions and widespread shunning of North Carolina, we must also turn our attention to the day-to-day effects of this law--particularly how it affects performance at work. This is not only something that North Carolina businesses should consider but any employer of an LGBT person.

There are two significant ways this law is a problem for business owners:

1. It discourages inclusive thinking.

Inclusive thinking means taking everything into account and thinking creatively to consider all possible options. This type of thinking is linked to innovation and improved performance.

So how is HB2 connected to inclusive thinking? The Public Facilities Privacy and Securities Act sets a very dangerous precedent--restricting governmental consideration of sex to only one's biological sex at birth. It's sending a message that it is ok, and necessary, to define complicated things in straightforward terms, even at the expense of protecting other populations' interests and humanity.

If the government isn't willing to embrace inclusive thinking and come to a solution that works for everyone, how can we expect workers to extend themselves in their own thinking? Employers should emphasize the importance, now more than ever, of inclusive thinking.

2. It contributes to depression, anxiety and loss of confidence, which kills performance.

Studies confirm that the LGBT community suffers from a great amount of discrimination, harassment and violence when it comes to bathroom use. Because of these hardships, this population is more prone to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues that severely diminish quality of life.

 

The Public Facilities Privacy and Securities Act isn't helping. It's supporting a harmful and hostile environment, in which it is okay to deny a person's identity and force them to use facilities they are not comfortable using. As you can imagine, this is only adding to people's stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety--while horrible experiences in themselves--are also detrimental to the workplace. When fear takes up a major part of our daily emotions, our performance is severely hijacked. Instead of being able to use our prefrontal cortexes to make informed decisions, the amygdala takes over, causing us to think rashly and in a fight-or-flight mentality.

When we're constantly in defensive mode, we don't have time or energy to think creatively, enjoy our work, or move ourselves forward in our careers. The toxic environment perpetuated by this new bill might be keeping some of the greatest ideas and discoveries from coming to the forefront--innovative thinking that might have otherwise taken your business to the next level.