Approximately 212,000 LGBT Workers in Ohio Lack Statewide Protections Against Ongoing Employment Discrimination

Press Release
For Immediate Distribution

January 22, 2014

Contact:
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Donald Gaitlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-2871

Approximately 81 percent of workforce is not covered by a local ordinance prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity

LOS ANGELES — Approximately 212,000 LGBT workers in Ohio are vulnerable to employment discrimination absent state or federal legal protections, according to a new report co-authored by Amira Hasenbush, Jim Kepner Law and Policy Fellow; and Christy Mallory, Senior Counsel at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute. Thirteen localities in Ohio prohibit private employment discrimination against LGBT people, yet 81 percent of Ohio’s workforce is not covered by one of these local ordinances. Even within the localities providing discrimination protections, the exact coverage varies from place to place, leaving a patchwork of protections.

Despite the state’s lack of legal protections for LGBT workers, a 2013 opinion survey found that 68 percent of Ohioans supported such laws and 84 percent believed that they were already in place.

“The enforcement of sexual orientation and gender identity provisions in non-discrimination laws is widely supported by Ohio residents and has only a minimal burden on state agencies, residents or businesses,” said Hasenbush. “A state-wide law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people would cost the state approximately $214,460 to enforce, just 2.8 percent of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s current budget.”

Key findings from the report include:

•  Several recent instances of employment discrimination against LGBT people in Ohio have been documented in the media, court cases and reports to legal organizations; these include reports from a teacher, a bus driver and a county child services employee.
•  Census data show that in Ohio, the median income of men in same-sex couples is 24 percent lower than men in different sex marriages. Disparities in wages are also a traditional way that discrimination has been measured.
•  Approximately 81 percent of Ohio’s workforce is not covered by a local ordinance prohibiting private employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
•  Thirteen localities in Ohio provide protection from sexual orientation and gender identity employment discrimination by local ordinance. An additional 14 localities provide protections for government workers alone.
•  A statewide non-discrimination law would result in 100 additional complaints being filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission each year.
•  It would cost the state approximately $214,500 annually; only 2.8 percent of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s annual budget.

Findings from the Ohio report are consistent with national data. A 2013 Pew Research Center survey found that 21 percent of LGBT respondents had been treated unfairly by an employer in hiring, pay, or promotions. In 2009, 78 percent of respondents to the largest national survey of transgender people to date reported having experienced harassment or mistreatment at work, and 47 percent reported having been discriminated against in hiring, promotion, or job retention because of their gender identity.

Click here for the full report.

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