Employment Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

Corp-Statement-Image“Between 15% to 43% of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender workers have experienced being fired, denied promotions or harassed, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA School of Law that studies LGBT issues.”
- Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2013

The Williams Institute has undertaken a significant body of research regarding the experiences of LGBT employees in the workplace. This research consistently shows that LGBT people continue to face high rates of discrimination in the workplace and that state and federal protections could consequently have a significant and positive impact for LGBT workers without overly burdening employers.

Significant findings include:

•    For over seventy years, Presidents have issued executive orders requiring workplace protections from discrimination, including employees of federal contractors.  These orders  have not been overturned by courts, Congress, or subsequent Presidents

•    A federal executive order that requires contractors to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity would protect up to 16.5 million more workers.

•    Over ninety percent of the country’s largest companies, including federal contractors, state that diversity policies are good for their corporate bottom line.

•    Among the top 50 federal contractors, 86% include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies and 55% include gender identity.

•    Among the largest private defense contractors, state laws or private policies already cover 95% of employees against sexual orientation discrimination, 69% of employees against gender identity discrimination.

•    Ordinances that require city and county contractors to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination do not burden governments or businesses.

•    A 2013 PEW Survey found that 21% LGBT respondents had been treated unfairly by an employer in hiring, pay, or promotions.

•     When surveyed separately, transgender respondents report even higher rates of employment discrimination and harassment than LGB people. In a 2011 survey, 78% of respondents to the largest survey of transgender people to date reported experiencing at least one form of harassment or mistreatment at work because of their gender identity.

Sample studies include:

Documenting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in State Employment

Documented Evidence of Employment Discrimination & Its Effects on LGBT People

The Impact of Extending Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Requirements to Federal Contractors

Economic Motives for Adopting LGBT-Related Workplace Policies

In addition, the following editorials discuss Williams Institute research as it relates to the executive order  prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for federal contractors:

A fairer workplace in federal contracting
Washington Post
April 18, 2012

What Obama Should Do About Workplace Discrimination
New York Times
February 6, 2012

An order that would ensure a level field for gays in federal contracting
Washington Post
February 6, 2012

Why Are Taxpayers Subsidizing Anti-Gay Discrimination?
Huffington Post
February 6, 2012

Equality is good for business – and government
Detroit Free Press
February 28, 2012

Three Strikes: The Economic Vulnerability of Black Lesbians
The Black Institute

March 20, 2012